Kentucky Derby 2022: 11 trainers have the most contenders

Kentucky Derby 2022: 11 trainers have the most contenders
Photo: Ron Flatter

About the only thing missing in Steve Asmussen’s Hall of Fame career is a Kentucky Derby victory. That does not mean Las Vegas is shying away from him in 2022.

Click here to see a list of 2022 Kentucky Derby contenders.

With 26 of his 3-year-olds among the betting choices at Circa Sports and Caesars Sportsbook at William Hill Nevada, Asmussen has nine more horses in the Derby futures than any other trainer.

There are 11 trainers with at least five horses apiece in the futures. They are ranked here by how many of their Derby candidates are taking action in Nevada. (Note: Circa = Circa Sports, C-WH = Caesars Sportsbook at William Hill Nevada, f = filly, g = gelding).

1. Steve Asmussen (26)

No trainer has won more races at Churchill Downs than Asmussen, who is 0-for-23 with the horses he has saddled in 16 runnings of the Derby. Epicenter (30-1), who won the Fair Grounds stakes named for Asmussen’s 2017 Eclipse Award winner Gun Runner, carries the shortest best price in the stable.

Steve AsmussenCircaC-WHSire
Epicenter  30-1  25-1Not This Time
Chasing Time  70-1 Not This Time
Echo Zulu (f)  30-1  75-1Gun Runner
Gunite110-1  55-1Gun Runner
Stellar Tap125-1  80-1Tapit
Chattalot150-1150-1Midnight Lute
Little Drama 150-1Dramedy
Favorite Outlaw150-1 Maclean's Music
Dr. Perry175-1125-1Into Mischief
Elusive Target 175-1Gun Runner
American Xperiment200-1100-1Nyquist
Cogburn200-1125-1Not This Time
Red Run200-1150-1Gun Runner
Classic Moment225-1135-1Classic Empire
Costa Terra225-1 Gun Runner
Sky and Sand225-1 Midshipman
All in Sync250-1 Maclean's Music
Concept250-1 Gun Runner
Chileno275-1 Gun Runner
Hot Rod Rumble (g)275-1 Midnight Storm
Ten Gauge275-1 Gun Runner
Pressure300-1150-1Into Mischief
Guntown300-1175-1Gun Runner
Cool Papa G300-1250-1Maclean's Music
Cairama300-1300-1Cairo Prince
Vodka N Water300-1 Fed Biz

2. Todd Pletcher (17)

A Derby winner with Super Saver in 2010 and Always Dreaming in 2017, Pletcher shares the record with D. Wayne Lukas and Nick Zito for most starters in one Derby, entering five in 2007 and again in 2013. It is no surprise he has plenty of new candidates. Remsen (G2) winner Mo Donegal (38-1) is regarded by bettors and bookmakers as his best chance in 2022.

Todd PletcherCircaC-WHSire
Mo Donegal  38-1  35-1Uncle Mo
Emmanuel  50-1  50-1More Than Ready
Wit  40-1  50-1Practical Joke
Commandperformance  55-1  30-1Union Rags
American Icon  75-1100-1Gun Runner
Major General110-1  55-1Constitution
My Prankster120-1100-1Into Mischief
Varatti125-1  75-1Into Mischief
Dean's List140-1  75-1Speightstown
Overstep140-1120-1Into Mischief
Double Thunder175-1100-1Super Saver
Keepcalmcarryon200-1125-1Union Rags
Power Agenda225-1175-1Nyquist
Annapolis250-1150-1War Front
So Determined250-1200-1Into Mischief
Midnight Worker250-1225-1Outwork
Misbehaved250-1 Into Mischief

3. Bob Baffert (16)

Even though he is banned through the 2023 Derby, Baffert’s seven victories in the race are keeping his horses in high regard. Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Corniche (13-1) is the Las Vegas favorite. Barring a change of heart at Churchill Downs, he and Baffert’s other contenders would need to be transferred to another trainer to get in the Derby, let alone win it.

Bob BaffertCircaC-WHSire
Corniche  13-1    6-1Quality Road
Messier  40-1  20-1Empire Maker
Doppelgänger  40-1  50-1Into Mischief
Newgrange  55-1  35-1Violence
Rockefeller100-1  55-1Medaglia d'Oro
Flying Drummer100-1100-1Gun Runner
Pinehurst  70-1100-1Twirling Candy
Wharton 100-1Candy Ride
Winning Map  65-1100-1Liam's Map
Murray110-1  75-1Street Sense
Gold Rush Candy 125-1Danzing Candy
Enbarr200-1125-1Brody's Cause
Kamui200-1125-1Quality Road
Montebello200-1150-1Curlin
Barossa225-1150-1Into Mischief
Rhetoric225-1 Quality Road

3. Brad Cox (16)

Unless Mandaloun is awarded the 2021 Derby because of the late Medina Spirit’s drug positive, Cox and his fellow Louisville natives are still without a training victory in America’s biggest race. His maiden winners Rocket Dawg (45-1) and Cyberknife (50-1) carry his barn’s best prices.

Brad CoxCircaC-WHSire
Rocket Dawg  38-1  45-1Classic Empire
Cyberknife  37-1  50-1Gun Runner
Gilded Ruler125-1 Into Mischief
In Dreams  90-1150-1Frosted
Quick to Blame150-1 Blame
Home Brew175-1125-1Street Sense
Page One 175-1Practical Joke
Insolito175-1 Connect
Vivar200-1 Cairo Prince
Almanzo225-1 Tapit
Rewire (g)225-1 Mohaymen
Kaely's Brother200-1250-1Twirling Candy
Gunfighter275-1 Ghostzapper
Naval Aviator275-1 Tapit
Nineties Country300-1150-1Connect
Whittington Park300-1250-1Midnight Lute

5. Dallas Stewart (8)

In keeping with his reputation for hitting the board at long odds in big races, Stewart has eight horses carrying triple-digit prices to win the Derby. They are led by Ben Diesel (150-1), a debut winner at Churchill Downs.

Dallas StewartCircaC-WHSire
Ben Diesel150-1100-1Will Take Charge
Strava175-1150-1Into Mischief
Spartan Army175-1175-1Tapiture
Surfer Dude200-1 Curlin
B Sudd250-1175-1Jimmy Creed
Unified Report250-1175-1Unified
Brigadier General300-1 Street Sense
Hoist the Gold300-1350-1Mineshaft

6. Mark Casse (7)

Most of the U.S. and Canadian Hall of Famer’s horses are big long shots in the Derby futures, but Pappacap (50-1) is the exception. He finished second in his last two starts, both Grade 1s, most recently the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Mark CasseCircaC-WHSire
Pappacap  50-1  30-1Gun Runner
Coinage225-1150-1Tapit
Volcanic225-1 Violence
God of Love275-1 Cupid
Twenty Four Mamba300-1250-1Classic Empire
Deal Go Down 300-1Cairo Prince
On Thin Ice350-1 More Than Ready

6. Mike Maker (7)

Adept at turning maidens and claimers into winners, Maker’s possibilities to get his first Derby win are all at least 200-1. Stolen Base (200-1) leads them even though he has not won since his debut last summer at Saratoga.

Mike MakerCircaC-WHSire
Stolen Base 200-1Bodemeister
Seal Beach225-1 Midshipman
Rotknee250-1200-1Runhappy
Fan the Fire275-1200-1Hard Spun
Barese300-1200-1Laoban
Run Curtis Run275-1300-1Summer Front
Back to Normal300-1 Liam's Map

8. Chad Brown (6)

Grade 1 winner Jack Christopher (29-1) may represent Brown’s best chance to break a personal Derby maiden. An injury cost the Munnings colt a chance to race as the morning-line favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He is due back as soon as next month, when he continues his campaign to be the first male since Riva Ridge 50 years ago to win the Derby after breaking his maiden on the main track at Saratoga.

Chad BrownCircaC-WHSire
Jack Christopher  29-1  20-1Munnings
Zandon  38-1  25-1Upstart
Early Voting150-1150-1Gun Runner
Key Point175-1125-1Into Mischief
Forced Ranking200-1150-1Mastery
Triple Elvis250-1 Into Mischief

8. Saffie Joseph Jr. (6)

Looking for his first Derby victory, Joseph has a list of long-shot contenders that starts with undefeated Make It Big (100-1), a $120,000 Neolithic colt whose triumph in the Remington Springboard Mile came after a pair of victories at Gulfstream Park.

Saffie Joseph Jr.CircaC-WHSire
Make It Big100-1100-1Neolithic
White Abarrio160-1150-1Race Day
A. P.'s Secret225-1175-1Cupid
Of a Revolution250-1200-1Maclean's Music
Avant Glory 250-1Khozan
Skippylongstocking350-1275-1Exaggerator

9. Ken McPeek (5)

Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale’s prized stallion Runhappy sired Smile Happy (22-1), who is in the care of McPeek. The connections’ reward so far has been a pair of victories in as many tries, including the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs.

Ken McPeekCircaC-WHSire
Smile Happy  22-1  20-1Runhappy
Rattle N Roll  24-1  22-1Connect
Dash Attack  65-1  75-1Munnings
Tiz the Bomb  80-1 Hit It a Bomb
Lucky Boss 250-1Street Boss

9. Doug O’Neill (5)

I’ll Have Another in 2012 and Nyquist in 2016 made O’Neill one of only 19 trainers with at least two Derby scores. Nyquist’s son Slow Down Andy (60-1) is regarded in Nevada as his best shot at getting to No. 3.

Doug O'NeillCircaC-WHSire
Slow Down Andy  60-1  50-1Nyquist
Mackinnon100-1 American Pharoah
Kid Corleone140-1150-1Shackleford
Franklin One Star (g)160-1 Danzing Candy
Durante125-1175-1Distorted Humor

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