The big race of 2022 in the United States is quickly approaching, as the Kentucky Derby is staged on May 7th this year.
The race will once again pit the best three-year-olds on the dirt against each other, and there is no shortage of stories that could be made going into the race this year. You can learn more about the event from the official sportsbook of the Kentucky Derby here: twinspires
So, who are the top four contenders to win the Triple Crown race this year?
First Choice- Forbidden Kingdom
Our personal favourite in the current betting is Forbidden Kingdom for trainer Richard Mandella. This three-year-old started his racing career with a maiden victory over 5 ½ furlongs, before coming up short in the Speakeasy and G3 Bob Hope. However, this year, he has progressed into one of the best horses in his age group, and has won back-to-back graded races.
His first victory came over seven furlongs in the G2 San Vicente, beating Pinehurst and McLaren Vale. He was stepped up to 1 1/16 miles for the first time in March, and was simply stunning when winning going away in the G2 San Felipe.
Second Choice- Epicenter
Steven Asmussen trains Epicenter, who has solidified his place as one of the best three-year-olds in the United States this year. He was beaten on his first start in 2022, as he finished second behind Call Me Midnight in the G3 Lecomte. However, he showed that was a blip in the G2 Risen Star when holding off Smile Happy, who was the favorite to win the Kentucky Derby at the time.
Any doubts whether that was a shock outcome were routinely answered in the G2 Louisiana Derby over 1 3/16 miles when gaining revenge on Call Me Midnight to win at Fair Grounds. Zozos and Pioneer of Medina had no answer for the eventual winner that day, and he is only impressing more with every start.
Third Choice- Classic Causeway
Classic Causeway is responsible for some of the best performances on the dirt this calendar year, and is a two-time stakes winner coming into this busy part of the season. His second behind Smile Happy in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs was still an impressive win, and that course experience could be vital as he get closer to the Kentucky Derby.
Since that defeat, he has won back-to-back races, beginning with a very dominant display in the G3 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs in February over 1 1/16 miles. That run was backed up with another strong effort in the G2 Tampa Bay Derby, as he beat Grantham and Shipsational over the same distance. He could be aimed towards either the G1 Florida Derby or G1 Blue Grass Stakes on his next start.
Fourth Choice- Secret Oath
We like the look of an outsider as our fourth choice to win the Kentucky Derby this year. There have only been three filly winners of the opening Triple Crown race, with the most recent coming in the form of Winning Colors in 1988.
However, there could be an outstanding contender this year for D. Wayne Lukas to improve that record. Secret Oath is widely available at 33/1 for the Kentucky Derby at present and has looked extremely talented in her two starts this calendar year.
She most recently won over 1 1/16 miles in the G3 Honeybee and looks likely to take on the boys for the first time in early April when lining up in the Arkansas Derby. A victory in that race would effectively mean a spot in the Kentucky Derby this year, and it could be something that appeals to connections.