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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. Epicenter put himself squarely on the map with his victory in last week’s Gun Runner Stakes.
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 latest 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: 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.
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: 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: Maiden victory last time earned a high speed figure; solid distance pedigree
Cons: Took 7 races to break his maiden; questionable connections
Outlook: We’ll see if relatively unknown trainer Alnaz Ali can keep this horse on the improve in 2022. It took a while to break the maiden, but it was a pretty nice effort when he finally did it.
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
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: 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 this 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: Recent win was impressive; speed figures are consistent
Cons: Failed against stakes company more than once, could be a sprinter
Outlook: This horse continues to run consistent races even though he’s failed twice against stakes company. He might be the favorite in the early stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Pros: Maiden win was impressive; Doug O’Neill
Cons: Progression needed after lone victory
Outlook: We’ll need to see him progress as we go along, but his recent maiden win was impressive, and O’Neill usually can get the most out of his horses.
Pros: Two wins over the Churchill Downs surface
Cons: Speed figures are low
Outlook: I’m on the fence with this guy until we see more. He certainly has proven to be classy, but can he break through and win a big race?
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: Distance pedigree; room to improve; Bob Baffert
Cons: Low speed figures; didn’t beat much in his stakes victory.
Outlook: He shipped to Aqueduct and won the Nashua Stakes (G3), which was a solid victory. He is back on the work tab at Santa Anita now.
Pros: Impressive maiden victory
Cons: Took 3 races to break his maiden
Outlook: He performed well in his first 3 starts but only won once, which is a little concerning.
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