Check out all the latest podcasts including Blinkers Off and The Magic Mike Show
Check out all the big upcoming stakes races
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 latest list leading up to this weekend’s Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park:
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. We’ll seem in the Risen Star Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds for his 2022 debut.
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. However, the level of competition that he has faced is still a little questionable.
Pros: Solid debut effort at Gulfstream Park; followed up with an easy Tampa Bay allowance victory
Cons: Speed figure aren’t flashy; still no stakes experience
Outlook: This horse has looked ultra-impressive in both of his starts, and has the look of being Todd Pletcher’s best horse. Stakes company will definitely be next.
2022 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Emmanuel
Pros: Three solid races in a row; has the early speed needed to be in position
Cons: Recent loss to a 28/1 shot in the Lecomte Stakes (G3)
Outlook: There is still a lot to like about this Steve Asmussen runner, despite the recent runner-up effort in the Lecomte Stakes (G3). He did the dirty work in that one, and should improve as the distances get longer.
2022 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Epicenter
Pros: Very impressive win in the San Vicente Stakes (G2); tremendous trainer
Cons: Unproven around two turns
Outlook: There is no doubt this horse took a major step forward in his San Vicente Stakes (G2) victory. Now, he must show he can do that around two turns in his next challenge, which will likely be the San Felipe Stakes (G2).
2022 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Forbidden Kingdom
Pros: Three straight wins; speed figures are close to what the top group has earned
Cons: Didn’t take a step forward in the Southwest Stakes (G3)
Outlook: There is nothing wrong with being three for three, but he didn’t look flashy in the Southwest Stakes (G3), even though it was a gritty win. He did not seem to like that track at all, which played a factor.
2022 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Newgrange
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, which is an increasing concern with each passing week.
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: 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
There’s a reason we’re the #1 trusted source for premium racing picks & info.
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 victory in the Lecomte Stakes (G3); Solid trainer
Cons: Several losses on the resume; running style
Outlook: He threw his name into the hat with an impressive victory in the Lecomte Stakes (G3); however, his running style of coming from behind will always leave him with a lot to do.
2022 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Call Me Midnight
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: Four clear losses when running against solid competition
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. Until proven otherwise, that is how we’re going to label him.
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: 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.
2022 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Chasing Time
Pros: Only one loss; showed improvement in 2022 debut despite a loss
Cons: Two-turns still a major question mark.
Outlook: Even though he lost, his runner-up effort in the San Vicente Stakes (G2) was encouraging. Now, we need to see him do it going two-turns.
Pros: Solid debut effort at Los Alamitos
Cons: Off the board finish against stakes horses
Outlook: This horse looked pretty professional on debut, sitting a little off the pace, and then pouncing late for an easy debut victory. However, he didn’t look nearly as good in the San Vicente Stakes (G2), but that race could have been a little short for him. He’s still a player until we see him around two-turns.
2022 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Doppelganger
The Racing Dudes preview and give picks for the $400,000… Read More
The Magic Mike Show guys preview & give their tickets… Read More
Aaron and Papa Dude review Super Bowl LVIII & give… Read More
Aaron and Papa Dude give their Super Bowl LVIII bets… Read More
The Racing Dudes preview and give picks for the $250,000… Read More
Each week, get the standings, power rankings, and recent transactions for… Read More
It’s time for Horse Racing Trivia Tuesday! Magic hosts as… Read More
Where does Sierra Leone rank as a Kentucky Derby contender… Read More
Aaron previews the 2024 Rebel Stakes (G2) from Oaklawn Park,… Read More
Aaron previews the 2024 Honeybee Stakes (G3) from Oaklawn Park,… Read More
Looking to cash in big?
Sign up for exclusive 10% discount on orders, plus be the first to access our daily free and premium horse racing picks, articles, podcasts, and more!