A Run for the Roses: 15 Possible Contenders for the Kentucky Derby 2022

Photo by Joshua Adams on Unsplash

A Run for the Roses: 15 Possible Contenders for the Kentucky Derby 2022

Many horses reached the list of finalists with points and chances for 2022 Run for the Roses following New Year’s Day qualifiers in the Jerome at Aqueduct, like Smarty Jones of Oaklawn and Sham of Santa Anita.

At this period of the year, there are plenty of Midwest contenders for the 148th edition of the Kentucky Derby, as youngsters begin and continue to emerge and Derby points competitions have started. Here are listed potential contenders for the 2022 Run for the Roses:


By 12 points, Pappacap continues to top the Derby score rankings. His upcoming race will be in the Lecomte. The Gun Runner colt has yet to win a Derby points race. However, he dominates the points rankings after finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the American Pharoah (G1). Pappacap will run in the Lecomte (G3) on Fair Grounds on January 22.



Epicenter won his maiden in his second appearance in a $120,000 competition at Churchill Downs throughout November, then returned six weeks later to take and win the Gun Runner Stakes at Fair Grounds by over six lengths. In 2022, it was not particularly successful during his debut, but it was spectacular.


Corniche took the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile as the 7-5 favorite from start to finish, finishing a 3-for-3 year in which he successfully won the Grade 1 American Pharoah, a run that will almost certainly bring him 2-year-old championship awards at the Eclipse Awards the week after next. Corniche is the obvious pick, even though he is not accruing Derby’s points owing to Baffert’s suspension.

The Forbidden Kingdom 


Upon winning the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita last Saturday, Forbidden Kingdom appeared simply breathtaking, and the figures supported those eyeballs coming from that 3-year-old debut. Again for the gate-to-wire win, he received a Beyer Speed Figure of 94, and most significant by any 3-year-old in 2022.

In the competition, Forbidden Kingdom also defeated a trio of Baffert-trained colts, perhaps including even-money choice Doppelganger, who came fourth.

The budding star still has to race at a distance greater than seven furlongs, but it will happen soon, and the Forbidden Kingdom is shaping up to be a major contender out from the West Coast for the year.

The Forbidden Kingdom also defeated a trio of Baffert-trained colts throughout the race, perhaps including favorite Doppelganger, who came fourth. The budding star has yet to race at a distance greater than seven furlongs, but that will happen soon, and the Forbidden Kingdom is shaping up to be a major contender from the West Coast for the year.

Dash Attack

Another McPeek product, the Munnings colt, stepped into the limelight by dominating the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn. In December, he overcame his maiden at the same track.

Kevin’s Folly

The Distorted Humor colt has been unable to win after breaking his maiden on debuting at Saratoga, though he placed third in Grade 1 company in the Hopeful. He earned a single Derby score by finishing fourth in the Gun Runner.

Classic Causeway

The colt came in third in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and then second in the Kentucky Jockey Club to gain his six Derby points. Lynch also stated that Classic Causeway would be pointed towards the Holy Bull (G3) on February 5 at Gulfstream Park.


On December 17, the Tapiture colt came in second in Remington Park’s Springboard Mile. The racehorse headed to Oaklawn Park after beating his maiden upon second asking at Churchill Downs on November 17. He placed second in his initial competition, losing against Howling Time.

Red Knobs

Red Knobs, a strong 2-year-old in the Romans barns, came in third in the Iroquois (G3) at Churchill Downs during the first Kentucky Derby preparations of the season. He placed eighth throughout the kentucky derby jockies after that. Kentucky Derby Jockeys Club has the Thoroughbred horses recognized for their speed, endurance, agility, and enthusiasm.

Bourbon Heist

Bourbon Heist received a single Kentucky Derby point by finishing fourth in the Iroquois despite being unable to win the championship. He finished second in his most recent start, a maiden special weight category event at Churchill Downs on October 31.

Tiz the Bomb

Tiz the Bomb placed seventh on his debut at Churchill Downs last year before switching towards the turf. However, he captured his next race on the dirt at Ellis Park by even more than about 14 lengths. He ended up winning the Grade 2 Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland and placing second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf to Modern Games in his final start as just a 2-year-old. Tiz the Bomb has been the 10-1 second choice in its latest Derby Future Wager.

Slow Down Andy

Slow Down Andy, a talented yet still a rookie 2-year-old, beat Baffert’s choice Messier in the stretch to win the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Futurity by one length on December 11. If not for those late-race shenanigans, such as pacing much of the stretch having his head bent to the side, as if scanning the crowd, the advantage would have been considerably higher.

Rattle ‘n Roll

Rattle N Roll used to have a pair of setbacks to begin his 2-year-old season before breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs in September and then destroying a 13-horse field in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland two weeks later. He was several lengths behind the lead in the competition before launching a powerful surge from around the final circuit and winning. He missed the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile due to a slight ailment, but he reappeared at Gulfstream Park later that month.

The Kentucky Derby requires formal attire, historically a mark of elegance and sophistication.

Such events and competitions are kept alive by betting, royalties, and connections, so it is one of the most exciting and famous events annually on the horse racing calendar.


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