Horse Racing: Road To The Kentucky Derby Prep Races, Dates & Odds

  • First Triple Crown race of the season takes place at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 7th
  • Prep races for the Kentucky Derby started in September, and will continue up until the Lexington at Keeneland in April

One of the big betting days of the year is fast approaching, and all gamblers will be hoping to get Kentucky Derby payouts on May 7th. Ante-post markets are already open, but we will learn more about some of the leading contenders from the prep races between now and the opening Triple Crown race of the season.

Kentucky Derby 2022 Schedule

  • When: Saturday, May 7th, 6:24 PM ET
  • Where: Churchill Downs, Kentucky
  • How To Watch: NBC

Kentucky Derby 2022 Odds

Jack Christopher+1400
Echo Zulu+2000
Tiz The Bomb+2000
Mo Donegal+2000
Slow Down Andy+2000
Rattle N Roll+2500
Smile Happy+2500

Kentucky Derby Prep Races

The field for the Kentucky Derby 2022 will be determined over the coming months, as vital Derby points are up for grabs in prep races. In total, there are 42 prep races in total with points available, with some more important than others. Each race offers a differing number of qualifying points, with the most important among those being the Santa Anita Derby, Jeff Ruby Stakes, Wood Memorial Stakes, and Blue Grass Stakes.

Eight races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby offer 100 qualifying points. Prep races aren’t just staged in the United States, as international qualifying points are available in races such as the UAE Derby, the Vertem Futurity Trophy, and the Cattleya. Below you can see all the prep races, and dates that they will be taking place.

RaceDateKentucky Derby Qualifying PointsWinning Horse
IroquoisSeptember 18th, 202110-4-2-1Major General
Juddmonte Royal LodgeSeptember 25th, 202110-4-2-1Royal Patronage
Alan Smurfit Memorial BeresfordSeptember 25th, 202110-4-2-1Luxembourg
American PharoahOctober 1st, 202110-4-2-1Corniche
ChampagneOctober 2nd, 202110-4-2-1Jack Christopher
Qatar Prix Jean-Luc LagardereOctober 3rd, 202110-4-2-1Angel Bleu
Breeders’ FuturityOctober 9th, 202110-4-2-1Rattle N Roll
Vertem Futurity TrophyOctober 23rd, 202110-4-2-1Luxembourg
Breeders’ Cup JuvenileNovember 5th, 202120-8-4-2Corniche
Kentucky Jockey ClubNovember 27th, 202110-4-2-1Smile Happy
CattleyaNovember 27th, 202110-4-2-1Consigliere
RamsenDecember 4th, 202110-4-2-1Mo Donegal
Los Alamitos FuturityDecember 11th, 202110-4-2-1Slow Down Andy
Zen-Nippon Nisai YushunDecember 15th, 202120-8-4-2Dry Stout
Springboard MileDecember 17th, 202110-4-2-1Make It Big
Gun RunnerDecember 26th, 202110-4-2-1Epicenter
Smarty JonesJanuary 1st, 202210-4-2-1Dash Attack
JeromeJanuary 1st, 202210-4-2-1Courvoisier
ShamJanuary 1st, 202210-4-2-1Newgrange
LecomteJanuary 22nd, 202210-4-2-1 Call Me Midnight
SouthwestJanuary 29th, 202210-4-2-1Newgrange 
Holy BullFebruary 5th, 202210-4-2-1 White Abarrio
Sam F. DavisFebruary 5th, 202210-4-2-1 Classic Causeway
WithersFebruary 5th, 202210-4-2-1 Early Voting
Robert B. LewisFebruary 6th, 202210-4-2-1 Messier
El Camino Real DerbyFebruary 19th, 202210-4-2-1 Blackadder
Risen StarFebruary 19th, 202250-20-10-5 Epicenter
HyacinthFebruary 20th, 202230-12-6-3 Combustion
RebelFebruary 26th, 202250-20-10-5 Un Ojo
John Battaglia MemorialMarch 5th, 202210-4-2-1 Tiz The Bomb
Fountain of YouthMarch 5th, 202250-20-10-5 Simplification
GothamMarch 5th, 202250-20-10-5 Morello
San FelipeMarch 5th, 202250-20-10-5 Forbidden Kingdom
Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition StakesMarch 9th, 202220-8-4-2 Blue Trail
PattonMarch 11th, 202220-8-4-2 Juncture
Tampa Bay DerbyMarch 12th, 202250-20-10-5 Classic Causeway
UAE DerbyMarch 26th, 2022100-40-20-10 Crown Pride
Louisiana DerbyMarch 26th, 2022100-40-20-10 Epicenter
FukuryuMarch 26th, 202240-16-8-4Delicada 
Sunland DerbyMarch 27th, 202250-20-10-5Slow Down Andy 
Florida DerbyApril 2nd, 2022100-40-20-10 White Abarrio
Arkansas DerbyApril 2nd, 2022100-40-20-10 Cyberknife
Jeff RubyApril 2nd, 2022100-40-20-10 Tiz The Bomb
Cardinal Condition StakesApril 7th, 202230-12-6-3 Atheby
Wood MemorialApril 9th, 2022100-40-20-10 Mo Donegal
Blue GrassApril 9th, 2022100-40-20-10 Zandon
Santa Anita DerbyApril 9th, 2022100-40-20-10 Taiba
LexingtonApril 16th, 202220-8-4-2 

It’s likely that Kentucky Derby picks won’t be made until at least after the period of big-scoring points between March 26th and April 9th, as we are likely to see many of the leading contenders in those graded races. However, history can offer guidance on the most important prep races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

The Florida Derby on April 2nd may be one worth examining, as 20 of the previous winners of this race have gone on to win one of the Triple Crown races. Including Maximum Security, who was later disqualified, the race has produced 15 Kentucky Derby winners. The most recent winner of the Florida Derby that has gone on to win the opening Triple Crown race of the season was Always Dreaming in 2017 for trainer Todd Pletcher.

The Santa Anita Derby has also been a successful route in recent seasons, with three previous Derby winners having come through the race at Santa Anita in the past four years. Two of the most prestigious races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby are the Wood Memorial and Blue Grass, but neither have produced a winner of the opening Triple Crown race in the past ten years.

Past Kentucky Derby Winners & Prep Races

Trends are important to identify before making a bet on the Kentucky Derby 2022. It may be important to examine the prep races taken by the most recent winners of the race, as it could offer extra insight into the route that the potential winner could take.

YearWinning HorseFinal Prep Run
2021Medina Spirit2nd Santa Anita Derby
2020Authentic2nd Santa Anita Derby
(1st Haskell Stakes)
2019Country House3rd Arkansas Derby
2018Justify1st Santa Anita Derby
2017Always Dreaming1st Florida Derby

Early Kentucky Derby Pick and Prediction

We are yet to see many of the leading contenders for the Kentucky Derby in 2022. Jack Christopher looks an excellent price in the ante-post market, but we are yet to see him return from injury. However, a chance could be taken. Meanwhile, I have been sweet on the chances of Forbidden Kingdom since his loss to Messier. At a massive price, he could be the way to go in the big race this year from an ante-post perspective.

Free Pick:

  • Jack Christopher
  • Forbidden Kingdom (+15000)

Alex has covered huge sporting events for various websites and publications. He has attended football European Championships, Rugby League and Union World Cups, and the Paralympics. Alex is dedicated to giving the most insightful tips for VegasOdds readers and specialises in horse racing, soccer, golf and basketball.

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