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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!
2022 Kentucky Derby
Let’s take a look at our first list:
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.
2022 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Smile Happy
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.
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.
2022 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Newgrange
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.
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.
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.
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.
2022 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Doppelganger
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.
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.
2022 Kentucky Derby Contenders: American Icon
Pros: Solid debut effort at Gulfstream Park
Cons: Speed figure wasn’t great; his next step will be a large jump up in class.
Outlook: His debut effort at Gulfstream Park was good enough to make him interesting moving forward; however, he must show improvement.
2022 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Emmanuel
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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).
2022 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Messier
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.
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.
2022 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Make It Big
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.
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.
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.
2022 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Simplification
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.
2022 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Dash Attack
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.
Pros: Has a win going 1 1/8 miles; great pedigree
Cons: Speed figures are very low
Outlook: It’s all about improvement with this one. He’s still fairly slow from a speed figure standpoint, but he has a top-notch pedigree and should improve as the distances get longer.
2022 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Courvoisier
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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