Kentucky Derby 2022: Prize Money Purse, Latest Vegas Odds Payouts and MoreMay 6, 2022
Kentucky Derby 2022: Prize Money Purse, Latest Vegas Odds Payouts and More
The 2022 Kentucky Derby is at the proverbial doorstep, and on Saturday, fans will be treated to the greatest two minutes in sports.
Naturally, the Derby is a major event in its own right, one of the biggest Grade 1 stakes races in the sport and a daylong celebration. It's also the first jewel of the Triple Crown, though, and the winning horse will earn a shot at history.
We haven't had a Triple Crown winner since Justify in 2018, and we've only had two (American Pharoah) since the 1970s. The Triple Crown is the ultimate honor in American thoroughbred racing and a prize that trainers and breeders dream of obtaining.
But to win the Triple Crown—which also includes the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes—one must first win the Kentucky Derby. There isn't a singular overwhelming favorite in this year's field of 20, so there should be plenty of drama up to and during the race.
Here's everything you need to know about the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby.
Where: Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky
When: Saturday, May 7
Time: 6:57 p.m. ET
TV and Live Stream: NBC, NBCSports.com, NBC Sports App and Peacock
Qualification: Three-year-old thoroughbreds
Prize Money: $3 million purse ($1.86 million payout to the winner)
Gate Positions and Latest Odds
1. Mo Donegal 7-1
2. Happy Jack 23-1
3. Epicenter 9-2
4. Summer Is Tomorrow 46-1
5. Smile Happy 14-1
6. Messier 7-1
7. Crown Pride 16-1
8. Charge It 12-1
9. Tiz the Bomb 25-1
10. Zandon 8-1
11. Pioneer of Medina 56-1
12. Taiba 5-1
13. Simplification 43-1
14. Barber Road 40-1
15. White Abarrio 10-1
16. Cyberknife 16-1
17. Classic Causeway 73-1
19. Tawny Port 69-1
19. Zozos 39-1
20. Rich Strike 99-1
*Odds via the official Kentucky Derby website and accurate as of Friday afternoon.
Preview and Latest Buzz
There isn't an individual heavy favorite in this year's race, but rather a group of favorites. Taiba has the top odds at 5-1, while Messier and Mo Donegal are close at 7-1. Zandon (8-1) and Epicenter (9-2) are also among the Friday favorites.
Taiba and Messier may stand out to some race fans, as both have been trained by Tim Yakteen. Yakteen took over for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who is serving a two-year ban from Churchill Downs following last year's disqualification of Medina Spirit for the anti-inflammatory steroid betamethasone.
"I think no matter how those horses run, they'll be Bob's," fellow trainer D. Wayne Lukas said, per John Cherwa of the Los Angeles Times. "Now, the general public, a lot of them, won't know the difference. [But] all the horse people will know they are Bob's."
Lukas was set to have one horse in the Derby, but Ethereal Road was scratched on Friday morning. According to Jay Privman of Daily Racing Form, Lukas could not be reached for comment on the withdrawal.
Ethereal Road will be replaced in the lineup by Rich Strike, an Eric Reed-trained horse who last placed third in the Jeff Ruby Steaks Stakes at Turfway Park in early April. According to Churchill Downs PR, Rattle N Roll—another eligible horse alongside Strike Rich—has also been scratched.
While an evolving field will impact the Derby, weather could be an even bigger factor.
"There’s a traffic jam setting up in the atmosphere later this week, and that will slow the forward progress of a storm system moving through the Ohio Valley around the time of the Kentucky Derby festivities," meteorologist Renee Duff said, per Mary Gilbert of Accuweather.
Sloppy conditions could spell trouble for some of the faster front-running horses, as Neil Greenberg of the Washington Post recently explained.
"Historically, one-dimensional front-runners have not performed well in the Kentucky Derby mud. They have not hit the board—finished first, second or third—in any of the past four Kentucky Derbies contested over a non-fast track, and do not figure to be competitive here, either," Greenberg wrote.
Mud could allow a long shot like Pioneer of Medina or Summer Is Tomorrow to stun on Saturday, and the weather will be worth watching before leaning too heavily into the favorites.