Kentucky Derby 2022 Lineup: Full Race Guide for All Horses and Jockeys

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIMay 6, 2022

Kentucky Derby entrant Messier works out at Churchill Downs Thursday, May 5, 2022, in Louisville, Ky. The 148th running of the Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 7. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Few jockeys have won the Kentucky Derby as many times as John Velazquez. And none have competed in the Run for the Roses as frequently as Mike Smith. They'll both be among the 20-strong field looking to race to victory during the 2022 Kentucky Derby on Saturday.

Velazquez is one of only 11 jockeys to have three or more Derby victories. He won in 2011 (Animal Kingdom), 2017 (Always Dreaming) and 2020 (Authentic). And he briefly won the 2021 Kentucky Derby before Medina Spirit was disqualified for a failed drug test. This year, Velazquez will be aboard Messier in the hunt for his fourth.

Smith will be competing in the Derby for the 28th time when he rides Taiba on Saturday. The 56-year-old has two previous wins in the Run for the Roses—in 2005 (Giacomo) and in 2018 (Justify, who won the Triple Crown).

If either Velazquez or Smith is going to notch another Derby victory, Messier or Taiba will have to beat the betting favorites, Zandon (3-1) and Epicenter (7-2).

Here's a look at the full 2022 Kentucky Derby lineup, along with the trainers and jockeys for each horse.


2022 Kentucky Derby Lineup

1. Mo Donegal (10-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

2. Happy Jack (30-1)
Trainer: Doug O'Neill
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano

3. Epicenter (7-2)
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Joel Rosario

4. Summer Is Tomorrow (30-1)
Trainer: Bhupat Seemar
Jockey: Mickael Barzalona

5. Smile Happy (20-1)
Trainer: Kenneth McPeek
Jockey: Corey Lanerie

6. Messier (8-1)
Trainer: Tim Yakteen
Jockey: John Velazquez

7. Crown Pride (20-1)
Trainer: Koichi Shintani
Jockey: Christophe Lemaire

8. Charge It (20-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Luis Saez

9. Tiz the Bomb (30-1)
Trainer: Kenneth McPeek
Jockey: Brian Joseph Hernandez Jr.

10. Zandon (3-1)
Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: Flavien Prat

11. Pioneer of Medina (30-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Joe Bravo

12. Taiba (12-1)
Trainer: Tim Yakteen
Jockey: Mike Smith

13. Simplification (20-1)
Trainer: Antonio Sano
Jockey: Jose Ortiz

14. Barber Road (30-1)
Trainer: John Alexander Ortiz
Jockey: Reylu Gutierrez

15. White Abarrio (10-1)
Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr.
Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

16. Cyberknife (20-1)
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Florent Geroux

17. Classic Causeway (30-1)
Trainer: Brian Lynch
Jockey: Julien Leparoux

18. Tawny Port (30-1)
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

19. Zozos (20-1)
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Manuel Franco

20. Rich Strike (99-1)
Trainer: Eric R. Reed
Jockey: Sonny Leon


Messier and Taiba aren't the only horses who will be ridden by former Kentucky Derby-winning jockeys. There are several others in the field who have a good bit of experience and have previously been successful in the Run for the Roses.

Flavien Prat will be the jockey for betting favorite Zandon, and he'll be aiming to win his second Derby in four years. However, Prat has never actually been on the horse that has crossed the finish line first at Churchill Downs.

When Prat won the Derby on longshot Country House in 2019, it was because Maximum Security had been disqualified for interference, giving the victory to Country House, who crossed the line second. This year, Prat is hoping he can ride Zandon to a clear win, although he does have a concern.

"I think the talent is there, the potential to win the race is there. It's just his running style. I don't know if he fits the way the race has been [won] the last few years," Prat said, per David Grening of Daily Racing Form. "As far as talent and potential, he's definitely capable."

Since 2017, Prat has finished in the top three at the Kentucky Derby four times. That includes a second-place finish while riding Hot Rod Charlie last year.

Epicenter also has an experienced jockey for Saturday's race. Joel Rosario has competed in the Kentucky Derby 10 times, including in 2013, when he rode Orb to victory. However, that's the only time that Rosario has finished in the top three at the Derby.

Rosario has been Epicenter's jockey for all three of the colt's races in 2022, notably triumphing at the Louisiana Derby in March. A month earlier, Epicenter won the Risen Star Stakes, a race in which Zandon finished third.

If Rosario can ride Epicenter to victory on Saturday, it will mark the first Kentucky Derby win for trainer Steve Asmussen, who had previously entered 23 horses into the illustrious race.

At this point, Rosario has been impressed with Epicenter's continued improvement.

"He has won on the lead, he has won coming from behind horses, so we'll see how he handles it," Rosario said, per Art Wilson of The Press-Enterprise. "He has matured, it seems. In the beginning, I had to ride him a little more. But now he's running and grabs the bridle a bit more. It's what you want to see."

While one of these experienced jockeys could ride to victory, it's also possible that one who hasn't competed in the Kentucky Derby much (or at all) may end up in the winner's circle. Anything can happen during "the most exciting two minutes in sports."