There is no denying that the horses involved in the Kentucky Derby are the show’s stars. However, they would have been prepped for the big race by some of the most illustrious trainers in racing. Unlike previous seasons, Bob Baffert-trained horses are ineligible for the opening Triple Crown race this year.
That means that many bettors will be exploring this Kentucky Derby betting guide to ensure that they make the best pick for the race this year. Below, you can learn more about some of the trainers at the Kentucky Derby 2022.
Todd Pletcher is the joint-most successful out of the trainers that will have horses lining up for the Triple Crown race this year. Pletcher has claimed two victories in the famous race. His first victory came back in 2010 with Super Saver, while his second victory came seven years later with Always Dreaming. Pletcher has several contenders looking to add to his achievements in the race this year.
Mo Donegal could be his leading chance, as the three-year-old sits fourth on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard. Charge It will also line up, while Pioneer of Medina needs horses in the top 20 to drop out to cut.
The record for most joint victories in the race for Pletcher is shared with Doug O’Neill. However, his strike rate is very impressive, given that he has saddled just seven runners in the race. Last year, his leading chance was Hot Rod Charlie, who was his first Derby runner since 2017.
Hot Rod Charlie finished third, meaning I’ll Have Another, and Nyquist remains his two only winners. This year, O’Neill will saddle Happy Jack, who squeezes into the Derby as he sits 20th on the current leaderboard.
The only other Derby-winning trainer involved this year is Brad Cox. However, he could not celebrate the victory since Mandaloun’s win wasn’t made official until after Medina Spirit’s disqualification earlier this year. Cox saddled two of the top three in last year’s race, including Essential Quality, who finished back in third. He has three chances in the race this year.
Cyberknife could be his outstanding contender, as the three-year-old won the G1 Arkansas Derby in April. Zozos was second in the G2 Louisiana Derby, while Tawny Port won the G3 Lexington Stakes.
Saffie Joseph Jr
Saffie Joseph Jr makes just a second attempt to win the Kentucky Derby in his career this year. His last runner in the race was back in 2020, as NY Traffic finished back in eighth. His chances this year will be hinging on White Abarrio, who delivered the fourth Grade 1 victory for Joseph when winning the Florida Derby to book his spot in the first Triple Crown race this year.
The one big-name trainer that is yet to win the Kentucky Derby is Steve Asmussen. He had had the second in the race, including in 2017 when Lookin At Lee was the unfortunate runner-up. His entries have made 23 starts, and Asmussen has an overall record of 0-2-2.
He has two excellent chances in the race this year. Morello is the outsider of the two, while Epicenter is the jot favorite after victories in the G2 Risen Star and G2 Louisiana Derby.
Chad Brown is most revered on the turf, but that hasn’t stopped him from trying to land victory in the biggest race of the season. So far, he has had six runners, with his closest contender being Good Magic, who finished second in 2018.
In truth, he has two excellent chances in the race this year, with G1 Blue Grass winner, Zandon and G2 Wood Memorial runner-up Early Voting both likely to be prominent in the betting.
Kenneth McPeek last trained a Kentucky Derby contender nine years ago, as Frac Daddy finished 16th in the 2013 renewal. He had the favorite for the Derby back in 2002, but Harlan’s Holiday could finish only seventh.
This year, Smile Happy looks his leading contender if he can rediscover the form that saw him win the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs last year. Tiz The Bomb is his other contender, but his best performances have come on the turf.
Antonio Sano was one of the stories of the 2017 Kentucky Derby, as his story of surviving two kidnappings in Venezuela was a much-told sub-plot. However, his only previous runner in the race, Gunnevera, could only finish seventh. This year, he will be hoping for better; as a G2 Fountain of Youth winner, Simplification could be a key player.
First Time Derby Hopefuls
Several new trainers will be looking to make a mark on their Kentucky Derby bow this year. Tim Yakteen is the big name out of those, as former Baffert-trained horses Taiba and Messier line up for him. Both have great chances, especially Taiba, who won the G1 Santa Anita Derby earlier.
Two contenders from the UAE Derby will also line up, with Koichi Shintani leading his first Kentucky Derby contender into battle. Crown Pride won maximum points in that qualifier, while Summer is Tomorrow will also give Bhupat Seemar a first runner in the Churchill Downs showpiece.