When is the Kentucky Derby 2022: With 20 horses, full home, race returns Saturday at Churchill Downs with no limits

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Twenty keen colts breaking from the beginning gate, a full home for the primary time in three years, and a Kentucky Derby missing a dominant favourite.

Issues might get attention-grabbing Saturday at Churchill Downs, the place the winners in 2019 and 2021 have been disqualified.

The largest query for these 3-year-olds is whether or not they can deal with working 1 1/4 miles whereas jostling for place in entrance of the most important crowd they’re going to ever see and listen to.

“Things can get a little dodgy throughout the race, having to go through holes and take dirt and take some bumps along the way,” coach Chad Brown mentioned. “You just never know what’s going to happen when you open the gate.”

Zandon is the early 3-1 favourite and breaks from the No. 10 put up, which has produced the second-most winners with 9. The darkish bay colt is skilled by Brown, looking for his first Derby win after six losses.

“It would mean everything,” mentioned Brown, who has had his personal secure for 15 years. “It’s so hard to get these Derby horses, especially the favorite.”

After two years of COVID-19 restrictions, the Derby returns in all its noisy, colourful glory. Attendance is again to full capability, which implies about 150,000 individuals jammed into Churchill Downs, dressed to the nines and fortified by mint juleps served in memento glasses. Submit time is 6:57 p.m. EDT.

“You want to adopt the philosophy that it’s just another race, but of course most definitely it’s not just another race,” mentioned Barbados-born coach Saffie Joseph Jr., who saddles White Abarrio.

In 2019, winner Most Safety was disqualified for interference and Nation Home wore the garland of pink roses.

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In 2020, an eerie silence enveloped the monitor when no followers have been allowed due to the pandemic and the race was pushed again to September. Final 12 months, the Derby returned to its traditional spot on the primary Saturday in Could with attendance restricted to about 52,000.

Steve Asmussen has received extra races in North America than another coach, however he is by no means received the Derby in 23 tries. He’ll saddle Epicenter, the early 7-2 second selection that earned his first profession victory at Churchill Downs final fall.

“You have no control over how 20 3-year-olds will handle this volume of crowd for the first time,” Asmussen mentioned. “None of them obviously has been in a race that’s had that many runners in it.”

The 148th Derby is lacking horse racing’s family identify: Bob Baffert. The Corridor of Fame coach with a record-tying six victories was banned by Churchill Downs this 12 months and subsequent after final 12 months’s winner, Medina Spirit, flunked a post-race drug check.

Baffert’s shadow nonetheless looms massive over the Twin Spires. Two colts beforehand skilled by him will probably be within the beginning gate: Messier, the early 8-1 third selection named for hockey Corridor of Famer Mark Messier, and 12-1 shot Taiba.

Taiba, the least skilled colt within the subject, has essentially the most skilled jockey on his again in 56-year-old Mike Smith. He might break Invoice Shoemaker’s file because the oldest successful jockey.

“If I can knock out a good clean trip for him then inexperience won’t get in the way so much,” Smith mentioned.

Taiba will attempt to turn into the primary horse to win the Derby in simply his third begin since Leonatus in 1883, and the primary horse to win in his third begin after not racing as a 2-year-old. Each Messier and Taiba are skilled by Tim Yakteen, Baffert’s one-time assistant.

“We’re going to need some luck, like every horse in the Derby does,” Yakteen mentioned.

Baffert instructed The Related Press he plans to look at the race remotely with household and buddies.

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United Arab Emirates Derby winner Crown Satisfaction might make historical past as the primary horse from Japan to win the Derby. The darkish bay colt has received three of 4 profession begins for coach Koichi Shintani.

“I want to see the same race start to finish that we saw in the UAE Derby,” Shintani mentioned, “including the being first across the wire part.”

Todd Pletcher, a two-time Derby winner, saddles three starters: Mo Donegal, Cost It and Pioneer of Medina.

Louisville-born Brad Cox received his first Derby belatedly when Mandaloun was elevated to first place after Medina Spirit’s disqualification in February. Cox has three pictures to make the winner’s circle in individual this 12 months: Cyberknife, Tawny Port and Zozos.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a blazing, blazing hot pace,” Cox mentioned.

Two-time Derby winner Doug O’Neill saddles 30-1 shot Completely happy Jack.

“Touch wood we’re going to shock the world,” he mentioned.

Saturday’s forecast requires a 30% likelihood of morning showers after which largely cloudy skies and a excessive of 64 levels.

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