And The Winner Of The 2022 Kentucky Derby Is...
Eleven baby horses will line up just shortly after 10:10pm est at the historic twin spires site that will eventually host the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May 2022. This marks the official start of the Kentucky Derby trail. The Grade III Iroquois stakes is ran at a 1-1/16 mile at Churchill Downs and offers qualifying points to the top four finishers. After this two and a half minute race, we will have 4 horses on the Derby leaderboard. But will one of them win the Kentucky Derby next year?
The short answer is no. In it's 39 year history, this race has not once given us a Kentucky Derby winner. While it is too early to call now, I don't expect this year to change that. It does, though, give us a chance to at least get an early look how the two-year-old's are training, the speed figures and jockeys at Churchill Downs. Tyler Gaffalione, which you all know I despise, has been the leading rider at Churchill the past 4 meets and will be riding one of the more expensive horses in Guntown.
Let me start with the obvious pick, Stellar Tap (3-1). This $250,000 purchase made his trainer, Steve Asmussen, the most winningest trainer in North American history last month at Saratoga. In debut, this horse grabbed a 109 timeform rating (highest in this race and only one of two in triple digits), while also winning by 5-1/2 lengths. While that race was only 7-furlongs, there is no reason to doubt this horse going further with the speed he showed down the stretch.
Steve Asmussen's other runner, Guntown (9-2), was a $750,000 purchase. As I already mentioned, Guntown will get Tyler Gaffalione in the saddle. Guntown has ran twice so far in his career. Both of those were at Ellis Park, so take that at what its worth. I do think Guntown showed great improvement in his second race, but I do worry at the class of the field. However, that kind of money to purchase the horse deserves a stronger look.
I am pretty high on Todd Pletcher's Major General (4-1). Major General's lone race looked like he ran a race that was higher caliber than Stellar Tap's debut. My issue is that at only 6-1/2 furlongs, this horse looked all out when beating Bourbon Heist (9-2) by a neck. Major General will need to be able to extend to the mile and change, which is possible if he doesnt run his eyeballs out. If thats the case, this horse will be looking for the wire halfway through.
I do like two long shots in this race as well. If the pace is hot or there is trouble with distance, Red Knobs (20-1) could be there to pick up the pieces late. In his last outing, he was able to go 7 furlongs on dirt after Delaware Park swapped it from the turf. Like Red Knobs, Husband Material (15-1) won his second race due to incliment weather. On a wet fast track, Husband Material ended up winning by 20-1/2 lengths. He is the only horse in this race with 2 turn experience, although it was a severly reduced field size.
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