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

LOUISWILL, Ki. – Twenty willing foals break from the starting gate, a full house for the first time in three years and a Kentucky Derby that does not have a dominant favorite.

Things could get interesting on Saturday at Churchill Downs, where the 2019 and 2021 winners were eliminated.

The biggest question for these 3 year olds is if they can afford to run 1 1/4 miles while running for a seat in front of the largest crowd they will ever see and hear.

“Things can get a little uncomfortable throughout the game, we have to go through holes, get dirt and take some hits along the way,” said coach Chad Brown. “You just never know what will happen when you open the gate.”

Zandon is the first favorite 3-1 and breaks away from No. 10, which has taken out the second most winners with nine. The dark foal is being trained by Brown, seeking his first victory in the Derby after six defeats.

“It would mean anything,” said Brown, who has had his own stable for 15 years. “It’s so hard to get those Derby horses, especially the favorite.”

After two years of restrictions for COVID-19, the Derby returns to all its noisy, colorful grandeur. Attendance has returned to full capacity, which means about 150,000 people are blocking Churchill Downs, dressed in nine and reinforced with mint zucchini served in souvenir glasses. Posted on 6:57 p.m. EDT.

“You want to adopt the philosophy that it’s just another race, but of course it’s definitely not just another race,” said Saffie Joseph Jr., a Barbadian-born trainer who drives a White Abario.

In 2019, the winner Maximum Security was eliminated for interference and Country House wore the garland of red roses.

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In 2020, an eerie silence engulfed the track when no fans were allowed due to the pandemic and the race was postponed to September. Last year, the Derby returned to its usual position on the first Saturday in May with a limited attendance of around 52,000.

Steve Asmussen has won more games in North America than any other coach, but has never won a Derby in 23 attempts. He will make the Epicenter, the second choice with 7-2 in the beginning that won his first victory in his career at Churchill Downs last fall.

“You have no control over how 20 3-year-olds handle this crowd for the first time,” Asmussen said. “None of them have obviously taken part in a race that had so many runners in it.”

The 148th Derby is missing the well-known name of the races: Bob Buffert. The Hall of Fame coach with six victories equals a record was eliminated by Churchill Downs this year and next, after last year’s winner, Medina Spirit, failed a post-match drug test.

Baffert Shadow still looks great over Twin Spiers. Two foals previously trained by him will be in the starting line-up: Messier, the first third-choice 8-1 named for Mark Messier’s Hall of Famer, and Taiba’s 12-1 shot.

Taiba, the least experienced colt on the field, has on his back the most experienced jockey in 56-year-old Mike Smith. He could break Bill Shoemaker’s record as the oldest jockey winner.

“If I can knock him out for a good clean ride for him, then inexperience will not stop him so much,” Smith said.

Taiba will try to become the first horse to win the Derby just in its third start after Leonatus in 1883, and the first horse to win in its third start after not competing for 2 years. Both Messier and Taiba are trained by Tim Yakteen, Baffert’s former assistant.

“We will need a little luck, like any horse in the Derby,” said Yakteen.

Baffert told the Associated Press that he plans to watch the match remotely with family and friends.

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The winner of the UAE Derby, the Crown Pride, could make history as the first horse from Japan to win the Derby. Dark Colt has won three of the four career starts for trainer Koichi Shintani.

“I want to see the same race from start to finish we saw in the UAE derby,” said Shintani, “including being first in the wire division.”

Two-time Derby winner Todd Pletcher gets three starters: Mo Donegal, Charge It and Pioneer of Medina.

Louisville-born Brad Cox won his first Derby late when Mandalon climbed to the top spot after being eliminated by Medina Spirit in February. Cox has three shots to make the circle of the winner personally this year: Cyberknife, Tawny Port and Zozos.

“I do not think it will be an incredible, incredibly hot rhythm,” Cox said.

Two-time Derby winner Doug O’Neill beats Happy Jack 30-1.

“Touch the wood, we will shock the world,” he said.

Saturday’s forecast predicts a 30% chance of morning rain followed by mostly cloudy skies and a higher temperature of 64 degrees.

Copyright © 2022 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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

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