Kentucky Derby 2022: Positions, odds, analysis, as Rich Strike draws into field

·6 min read

In the buildup to Saturday's 148th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, much of the narrative will surround six-time Derby winning trainer Bob Baffert. And Baffert won't even have a horse in the starting gate, currently surving a suspension due to Medina Spirit's post-race positive drug test after winning a year ago.

But when this year's contenders are loaded into the staring gate for the 6:57 p.m. post-time, the reality is that a deep, talented field of 20 going after $3 million in purse money.

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Coverage of this year's Derby will be from 2:30-7:30 p.m. on NBC.

The post position draw for the Kentucky Derby was held Monday afternoon, with the morning line revealed as well for the group of top 3-year-old colts.

Here's the complete field, with post positions and odds:

Zandon, with Flavien Prat up, wins the Blue Grass Stakes on Saturday, April 9, 2022, at Keeneland race course.
Zandon, with Flavien Prat up, wins the Blue Grass Stakes on Saturday, April 9, 2022, at Keeneland race course.

1. Mo Donegal 10-1

Trainer: Todd Pletcher.

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Consistent New York-based runner has win in the Grade 3 Remsen and Grade 2 Wood Memorial, both at Aqueduct, while finishing third behind White Abarrio and Simplification in the Holy Bull at Gulfstream.

2. Happy Jack 30-1

Trainer: Doug O’Neill.

Jockey: Rafael Bejarano.

Has not won beyond the maiden ranks, finishing third in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in last start, after placing third in the Grade 2 San Felipe two starts back.

3. Epicenter 7/2

Trainer: Steve Asmussen.

Jockey: Joe Rosario.

Capped a run of three wins in four starts at Fair Grounds with a score in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, earning a career best Beyer Speed Figure of 102.

Epicenter, with Joel Rosario aboard, wins the $1 million Louisiana Derby horse race at Fair Grounds on Saturday, March 26, 2022.
Epicenter, with Joel Rosario aboard, wins the $1 million Louisiana Derby horse race at Fair Grounds on Saturday, March 26, 2022.

4. Summer Is Tomorrow 30-1

Trainer: Bhupat Seemar.

Jockey: Mikael Barzalona.

All seven career starts have been in Dubai. Comes off a second-place finish behind Crown Pride in last start.

5. Smile Happy 20-1

Trainer: Ken McPeek,

Jockey: Corey Lanerie.

Comes off back-to-back runner-up efforts in Grade 2 Risen Star, behind Epicenter, and the Grade 1 Blue Grass, behind Zandon. Credited with 94 Beyers in both races.

6. Messier 8-1

Trainer: Tim Yakteen.

Jockey: John Velazquez.

Earned a 103 Byer in winning the Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita by 15 lengths on Feb. 6, and then got a 102 in finishing second behind Taiba in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby after taking the lead in the stretch.

7. Crown Pride 20-1

Trainer: Kochi Shintani.

Jockey: Christophe Lemaire.

Japan-based runner coming off a win in the UAE Derby in Dubai on March 28. Will be the third Derby runner from Japan since 2016, with Master Fencer sixth in 2019.

8. Charge It 20-1

Trainer: Todd Pletcher.

Jockey: Luis Saez.

Lightly raced with just three career starts, finished second in the Grade 1 Florida Derby behind White Abarrio. Broke maiden by 8 1/2 lengths at Gulfstream two starts back.

9. Tiz The Bomb 30-1

Trainer: Ken McPeek.

Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.

Comes off back-to-back win at Turfway Park, including an impressive win in the Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks in last start, earning a career-best 94 Beyer. Was well-beaten seventh in the Holy Bull three starts back.

Cyberknife, ridden by jockey Florent Geroux, wins the Arkansas Derby (Grade I) at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, Arkansas on April 2, 2022.
Cyberknife, ridden by jockey Florent Geroux, wins the Arkansas Derby (Grade I) at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs, Arkansas on April 2, 2022.

10. Zandon 3-1

Trainer: Chad Brown.

Jockey: Flavien Prat.

Comes off a win in the Grade 1 Blue Grass at Keeneland in last start with a career-best 98 Beyer. Ran third behind Epicenter in the Grade 2 Risen Star on Feb. 19.

11. Pioneer of Medina 30-1

Trainer: Todd Pletcher.

Jockey: Joe Bravo.

Gets in as the first alternate after a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, behind Epicenter and Zozos. Ran fourth in the Grade 2 Risen Star.

12. Taiba 12-1

Trainer: Tim Yakteen.

Jockey: Mike Smith.

Lightly-race Gun Runner colt has two impressive wins in as many starts, including a win over Messier and Happy Jack in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby to earn a 102 Beyer, after a 103 in breaking maiden.

13. Simplification 20-1

Trainer: Antonio Sano.

Jockey: Jose Ortiz.

Finished third behind White Abarrio and Charge It in the Grade 1 Florida Derby, after battling Classic Causeway for the lead. Earned 96 Beyer for win in Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on March 5.

14. Barber Road 30-1

Trainer: John Ortiz.

Jockey: Reylu Gutierrez.

Has not won beyond allowance ranks, but comes off top effort of career with a second-place finish behind Cyberknife in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, coming from well off the pace.

15. White Abarrio 10-1

Trainer: Saffie Joseph.

Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione.

Comes off back-to-back wins at Gulfstream in the Grade 3 Holy Bull and Grade 1 Florida Derby, pressing the pace in the Holy Bull and coming from just off the pace in the Florida Derby.

16. Cyberknife 20-1

Trainer: Brad Cox

Jockey: Florent Geroux.

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Ran best race of career in last start, a 2 3/4-length score in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, earning a 92 Beyer. Has followed that win up with several good workouts.

17. Classic Causeway 30-1

Trainer: Brian Lynch.

Jockey: Julien Laparoux.

Comes off a disappointing last-place finish in the Grade 1 Florida Derby after leading early. Led wire-to-wire in back-to-back wins at Tampa Bay, including the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby and Grade 3 Sam F. Davis.

18. Tawny Port 30-1

Trainer: Brad Cox.

Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

Came from off the pace to win Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland in last start, two weeks after rallying for second in the Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park.

19. Zozos 20-1

Trainer: Brad Cox.

Jockey: Manny Franco.

Finished second behind Epicenter after leading the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby in last start, earning a 98 Beyer in third career start. Won Oaklawn allowance race by 10 1/4 lengths on Feb. 11.

20. Rich Strike 30-1

Trainer: Eric Reed.

Jockey: Sonny Leon.

Drew into the field Friday morning when Ethereal Road scratched, this son of Keen Ice comes off a third-place finish in the Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park on April 2. Has not won beyond the maiden ranks.

This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Kentucky Derby 2022: Post positions, odds, analysis