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Expert Gene Menez Shares Top Picks for 2023 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Forte, Verifying, Tapit Trice, and Angel of Empire Among the Favored Horses to Watch at Churchill Downs


Expert who has accurately predicted prep races shares picks for the 2023 Kentucky Derby contenders, horses, field, lineup, and odds at Churchill Downs. Should you bet on Forte, Derma Sotogake, or Kingsbarns? These horses come from a diverse range of bloodlines and locations, including Verifying, son of Triple Crown winner Justify. 

Verifying has placed in his last two starts, finishing fourth and second, respectively, and is a longshot at 15-1 in the Kentucky Derby odds. Meanwhile, Forte is the current favorite at 3-1, followed by Tapit Trice at 5-1 and Angel of Empire at 8-1. With a highly competitive field, it is important to hear from SportsLine's horse racing guru Gene Menez before making any Kentucky Derby bets. 

Menez is a former reporter and editor at Sports Illustrated and has a proven track record in accurately predicting winners, such as Super Saver in 2010 and Always Dreaming in 2017. The race starts at 6:57 p.m. ET, and fans are eagerly anticipating the first leg of the Triple Crown.

On December 26th, Gene Menez won the Pick 5 at Santa Anita Park for $798.70. In his last seven races for SportsLine, he has successfully predicted the winners of various horse races, including the Lecomte Stakes, Southwest Stakes, Holy Bull Stakes, Sam F. Davis Stakes, Rebel Stakes, and the Jenny Wiley Stakes. Now, Menez has used his expertise to handicap the 2023 Kentucky Derby lineup, and his predictions and bets can only be found here.

Surprisingly, Menez is not supporting Forte, the 3-1 favorite and reigning two-year-old champion with an impressive record of six wins in seven career starts, five of which were graded-stakes wins. Menez is concerned about Forte's declining Beyer Speed Figures, with his latest figures lower than those from his previous races. He believes that Two Phil's, Practical Move, Verifying, and Tapit Trice all have higher Beyer Speed Figures than Forte's best, and therefore are better contenders. Menez is also optimistic about Two Phil's chances, even though he is a 12-1 longshot, due to his experience on the Churchill Downs track.

The author mentions that Two Phil's has performed well in both the Lecomte and Risen Star races, earning him a spot in the Kentucky Derby. He has also shown versatility by winning the Jeff Ruby Steaks on an artificial surface, with a 101 Beyer Speed Figure. While some may attribute his speed to the surface, Menez believes that Two Phil's is underrated and worth considering as a bet in the upcoming race. Menez's top pick for the Kentucky Derby is a horse that is improving at the right time, and he also recommends a longshot that has a history of finishing strong.


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