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2022 Kentucky Derby Rankings 1/20/2022: Lecomte Could Crank Up The Heat
Epicenter (Hodges Photography)

2022 Kentucky Derby Rankings 1/20/2022: Lecomte Could Crank Up The Heat

Welcome to the 2022 Kentucky Derby Rankings! Each week leading up to the race, we will provide our Top 20 Kentucky Derby Prospects, as well as updates with the latest news on each horse.

You can also visit our Kentucky Derby page for loads of information, including the latest news, rankings, prep race schedules, the Kentucky Derby point standings, and much more!

Let’s take a look at our latest list leading up to this weekend’s Lecomte Stakes (G3) at Fair Grounds:

1. Smile Happy

Pros: Perfect record; graded stakes victory over the Churchill Downs surface

Cons: Speed figures still a bit low; not sure what he’s faced yet

Outlook: His Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) victory was pretty impressive. He showed a burst of speed late in both starts so far.

2. Corniche

Pros: Undefeated; Bob Baffert; Champion Juvenile

Cons: Speed figures are low; competition he’s faced is sketchy

Outlook: He’ll be the champion 2-year-old with ease while being the clear Kentucky Derby favorite heading into 2022.

3. Newgrange

Pros: Recent win was impressive; speed figures are close to what the top group has earned

Cons: Only two races under his belt; his competition has been suspect.

Outlook: If this horse continues to progress, he will be one worth watching, as he has the look of a colt that could be pretty solid. His Sham Stakes (G3) victory seemed effortless.

4. Epicenter

Pros: Impressive stakes winner, seemingly getting better with distance

Cons: As of now, not much, but will the competition be strong at Fair Grounds?

Outlook: He won 2 in a row after a very impressive Gun Runner Stakes at Fair Grounds.

5. Jack Christopher

Pros: Most talented horse in the crop so far

Cons: Sprinter pedigree; injured before the Breeders’ Cup

Outlook: After watching several replays, he looks to be the most talented, but distance is a major question mark. He’ll be behind schedule a bit as well with an injury.

6. Slow Down Andy

Pros: Improved greatly in his last start; distance pedigree

Cons: Other than 1 race, he’s looked extremely average

Outlook: If his Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) win wasn’t a fluke and he can build off of that effort, then he will be a factor.

7. Doppelganger

Pros: Solid debut effort at Los Alamitos

Cons: Must improve next out from a speed figure standpoint

Outlook: This horse looked pretty professional on debut, sitting a little off the pace, and then pouncing late for an easy debut victory.

8. Mo Donegal

Pros: Excellent pedigree; victory going long

Cons: Unimpressive speed figures; Remsen winner hasn’t done much in a long time on the Derby Trail. 

Outlook: His Remsen Stakes (G2) win was workman-like, and while that race hasn’t produced much on the Derby Trail, it was still a solid win.

9. American Icon 

Pros: Impressive debut victory, Todd Pletcher

Cons: Lack of experience, no races around two turns yet

Outlook: He was awesome on debut, but how will he do when he moves up the ladder? That will be the big question.

10. Emmanuel

Pros: Solid debut effort at Gulfstream Park

Cons: Speed figure wasn’t great; missed scheduled next step with a fever

Outlook: His debut effort at Gulfstream Park was good enough to make him interesting moving forward; however, he must show improvement.

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11. Messier

Pros: Stakes winner; Bob Baffert

Cons: Recent loss not a good look

Outlook: Losing as the heavy favorite is never a good thing, so we’ll see if he can bounce back from a runner-up effort in the Los Alamitos Derby (G2).

12. Rattle N Roll

Pros: Impressive victories going two turns; Grade 1 winner

Cons: An injury has him behind schedule

Outlook: He has the talent, but the key will be how quickly he can get healthy and get back on the track.

13. Make It Big

Pros: Undefeated in three starts, all victories were decisive

Cons: Class remains a question mark

Outlook: He passed his first test with flying colors, shipping to Remington Park and winning the Springboard Mile Stakes. He earned an 84 Beyer for the victory, which is solid for that time of year.

14. Zandon

Pros: Solid in both of his starts so far; should improve

Cons: Low speed figures

Outlook: His runner-up effort in the Remsen Stakes (G2) was impressive considering it was his first time going two turns. If he can improve, he might be one that can rise up the rankings.

15. Pappacap

Pros: Consistent runner; Grade 2 winner

Cons: Three clear losses when jumping up to the Grade 1 level

Outlook: He seems like the type that will hit the board in a lot of races, but might not be good enough to win one of the big ones.

16. Simplification

Pros: Earned solid speed figure in recent win; has a distance pedigree

Cons: Has been inconsistent; hasn’t faced much yet

Outlook: His impressive Mucho Macho Man Stakes victory puts him on the map; however, he must prove he can do it against better horses and around two turns.

17. Dash Attack

Pros: Undefeated 2 for 2; multiple victories over an off track

Cons: Speed figures still a little low; pedigree going longer is iffy

Outlook: This horse is the star Oaklawn Park meet so far, breaking his maiden on opening weekend, then coming back to win the Smarty Jones Stakes. We’ll see how he performs once they distances begin to get longer.

18. Rockefeller

Pros: Distance pedigree; room to improve; Bob Baffert

Cons: Low speed figures; didn’t beat much in his stakes victory; was a distant second in the Sham Stakes (G3).

Outlook: We might be seeing his limitations after a lackluster effort in the Sham Stakes (G3). Also, his Nashua Stakes (G3) victory looks bad now as nobody has come back to win out of that race.

19. Chasing Time

Pros: Impressive win going two turns; solid pedigree

Cons: Speed figures are still low

Outlook: He made a name for himself with an impressive win against allowance runners at Oaklawn Park. Now, he will likely go to the Rebel Stakes (G2), where he will have to prove he can do it against tougher competition.

20. Oviatt Class

Pros: Looks like a “hit the board and close late” type that can pick up checks; should like longer distances.

Cons: Unsuccessful against stakes company many times

Outlook: This is your way too early “hit the board at a price” horse for the Kentucky Derby. He seems like the one that is always going to be closing down the lane picking off tired horses.

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