2023 Ohio Derby First Look
Don`t automatically assume the summer horse racing excitement is over when the Triple Crown concludes. It`s time for the 3-year-old colts and geldings to take center stage, as Saturday, June 24, 2023, will present the $500,000 Grade 3 Ohio Derby at Thistledown.
The field for this year`s Ohio Derby isn`t confirmed, but if we take anything from last year`s race, we could see a handful of Triple Crown participants enter the runnings. Three of the horses that competed in the 2022 Kentucky Derby entered the 2022 Ohio Derby, and a fourth, Ethereal Road, was ready to compete in the run for the roses but was scratched off the schedule 24 hours before. Regarding the 2023 edition, the race, which is covered by Bet365 Ohio, promises to be an exciting one since the potential of Triple Crown participants joining the field is high. Notably, last year`s winner, Tawny Port, finished seventh at the Kentucky Derby before claiming victory under Irad Ortiz.
2023 Ohio Derby Information
Racetrack: Thistledown, North Randall, Ohio
Date: June 24
Distance: 11/8 miles (Dirt)
Post Time: 5:35 pm ET
First Held: 1876
Noteworthy winners: Black Gold (1924), Traffic Judge (1955), On-and-On (1959), Skip Trial (1985), Broad Brush (1986), Lost Code (1987), King Glorious (1989), Skip Away (1996), Frisk Me Now (1997), Milwaukee Brew (2000), Brass Hat (2004), Caleb`s Posse (2011), Owendale (2019).
The Ohio Derby: A race filled with HistoryHosted at Chester Park in Cincinnati, the inaugural Ohio Derby made an immediate impact as it was won by an African American jockey William Walker, who rode Bombay to victory in 1876. A lot has changed, as you can imagine. The then 1 ½ mile race gifted Bombay with a $1,000 purse.
The race was discontinued in 1884, and besides a two-year layoff in 1933 and 1934, it has flourished on the Ohio circuit as one of the location`s most prized horse racing events.
Race grading, purse, and distance have been altered multiple times throughout the last 100 years. But one of the most famed winners was Skip Away in 1996. Under the tutelage of legendary trainer Sonny Hine and under the jockey Jose Santos, an Ohio Derby record at 1 1/8 miles was set at 1:47:86.
Between 2014-2016, the Ohio Derby had its graded status removed, and in 2015 the winner`s purse raised to $300,000.
However, it didn`t last long. Since 2017, the race was run as a Grade 3 event and keeps this status today with a purse that`s since been raised to $500,000.
2022 winner & 2023 Ohio Derby ExpectationsTawny Port made a late run on the Thistledown dirt track to first place at the 2022 Ohio Derby. As White Abarrio looked prime for the win by passing the front-runners, he settled on the rail, and Irad Ortiz riding Tawny Port, followed his path and beat White Abarrio to the top of the stretch.
At full force down the center of the track, Tawny Port finished first with 1:50.46 to defeat White Abarrio by one length. This win saw the Brad Cox barn take a trio of 3-year-old stakes wins in three weeks, having won the Churchill Downs race with Cyberknife and the Pegasus at Monmouth Park with Home Brew. On April 26, 2023, the Thoroughbred racing circuit in Ohio shifted to Thistledown and Belterra Park as the former in North Randall; the host of the Ohio Derby also began its 100-day meet that runs through October 12.
Thistledown`s biggest day arrives on June 25 when the Grade 3, $500,000 Ohio Derby and the $250,000 Lady Jacqueline Stakes for fillies and mares will headline a four-stakes card. The Ohio Derby, the most coveted Thoroughbred race in the state, often attracts alums from the Triple Crown series. Four years from the past decade have seen the Ohio Derby winner stem from Kentucky Derby participants - Mr. Z (2015, Mo Tom (2016), Irap (2017), and Tawny Port (2022).
While we cannot confirm, the 2023 Kentucky Derby runner-up, Two Phil`s, won`t contest the 148th Preakness Stakes. Nor will the Larry Rivelli-trained horse run on June 10 in the final leg of the Belmont Stakes Triple Crown, as the parties involved favor a summer "tune-up."
The Ohio Derby is now a probable entry place for Two Phil`s, a horse with the potential to keep the Kentucky Derby entrant-Ohio Derby winner streak alive.