Kentucky Derby Contenders & Points Leaders

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Last updated October 13, 2021

2022 Kentucky Derby Contenders

As horses enter the Derby trail, they get one shot to run in the Kentucky Derby in their lifetime.

Discover how horses earn the chance to run in the Kentucky Derby with information below; Information such as contender lists, race entries and point accumulation.

2021-2022 Kentucky Derby Contender Point Leaders

Check out the latest standings of contenders who are hopeful to start the 2022 Kentucky Derby. Positions based on points earned along the Road to the Kentucky Derby trail and non-restricted stakes earnings.

PointsHorseNon-Restricted Stakes EarningsRTKD Races Won
10 Rattle N Roll$300,000Breeders' Futurity
10Jack Christopher$275,000Champagne Stakes
10Major General$177,525Iroqouis Stakes
4Double Thunder$320,350n/a
4Pappacap$198,000n/a
4Commandperformance$100,000n/a
4Tough to Tame$57,750n/a
2Wit$202,500n/a
2Classic Causeway$50,000n/a
2Oviatt Class$36,000n/a
2Red Knobs$28,875n/a
1American Sanctuary$84,600n/a
1My Prankster$30,000n/a
1Bourbon Heist$14,438n/a

2021-2022 European Road to the Kentucky Derby Point Leaders

Check out the latest standings of contenders from the Euro series who are hopeful to start the 2021 Kentucky Derby. Positions based on points earned along the European Road to the Kentucky Derby trail and non-restricted stakes earnings.

PointsHorseRTKD Races Won
10Angel Bleu (FR)Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère
10Royal Patronage (FR)Juddmonte Royal Lodge
10Luxembourg (IRE)Alan Smurfit Memorial Beresford
4Noble Truth (FR)n/a
4Manu Et Corde (IRE)n/a
4Coroebus (IRE)n/a
2Ancient Romen/a
2Tuwaiq (IRE)n/a
2Unconquerable (IRE)n/a
1Accakaba (IRE)n/a
1Masakela (IRE)n/a
1Swan Bay (IRE)n/a

2021-2022 Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby Point Leaders

Check out the latest standings of contenders from the Japan series who are hopeful to start the 2022 Kentucky Derby. Positions based on points earned along the Japanese Road to the Kentucky Derby trail and non-restricted stakes earnings.

(Results will be added following the Cattleya Sho on November 27th)

Quick Kentucky Derby Contender Answers

  • Q: How many total horses can run in the Kentucky Derby?
    • A: 20 horses can be placed inside the Churchill Downs starting gate, which means 20 horses can run in the Kentucky Derby. There are typically two Also Elligable ‘AE’ horses who can find a chance to compete, if one of the original 20 horses scratches and cannot run in the race.
  • Q: How do horses get to run in the Kentucky Derby?
    • A: 18 entries are initially reserved for the top Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race point earners. These prep races are per-determined and if a horse is tied in points, then a specific type of purse earnings are used to assist.
    • A: 2 entries in the Kentucky Derby are ‘reserved’ for runners from the European Road to the Kentucky Derby and the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby.

The Kentucky Derby Hopeful Point Accumulation Process

One of the fascinating things about the build-up to the Kentucky Derby is watching the development of young Thoroughbreds. Still babyish as two-year-olds, the Derby hopefuls begin to grow up as three-year-olds — a process often compared to junior high kids morphing into high school athletes.

Fans can track the horses’ progress during the “Road to the Kentucky Derby,” traditionally a series of 35 races that take place from the fall of their two-year-old campaign through the spring of their three-year-old year, culminating in the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May. Horses earn their way into the Derby by scoring points in these 35 races (the full schedule, along with the sliding scale of points available for a top-four finish in each race, is available at kentuckyderby.com). 2020 did see a unique change to this process, which resulted in the Kentucky Derby running in September and a few uniquely sanctioned Derby prep-races. The Road to the 2021 Kentucky Derby returned to a more normal season and schedule.

Just as major sports teams advance through playoffs, meeting stiffer competition as they get closer to the championship event, so do Derby aspirants aim to climb through each successive prep race. They might not have to win, but they do have to perform well enough — and stay healthy — to remain on the trail.

Because the competition gets tougher as the trail unfolds, the Derby points system awards the most points for the marquee preps in late March or April. The winners of the Florida Derby, Louisiana Derby, UAE Derby (in Dubai), Wood Memorial, Santa Anita Derby, Blue Grass Stakes, and Arkansas Derby each bank 100 points toward the Kentucky Derby, clinching a spot in the field.

So hop onto the Derby trail — you might find a hot prospect!


2022 Kentucky Derby Pedigree Profiles

Prevailing in the Run for the Roses requires a perfect blend of both stamina and speed, plus an early-maturing profile sufficient to deliver a winning effort on the first Saturday in May. Learn more about the pedigree profiles of the leading contenders for the 2022 Kentucky Derby below. Use the quicklinks to jump to a specific horse:

MAJOR GENERAL | JACK CHRISTOPHER | RATTLE N ROLL


MAJOR GENERAL

“The first horse to strike on the 2021-22 Road to the Kentucky Derby was Major General, who displayed an affinity for Churchill Downs and battled to a tenacious victory in the Iroquois S. It’s easy to understand the source of Major General’s speed and talent. The dark bay colt boasts an elite pedigree, geared top and bottom toward success in the spring classics, which stamps the Todd Pletcher trainee as a key player for the 2022 Triple Crown.”

Click here to read the full pedigree profile


Jack Christopher

“With a 2 & ¾-length victory in the Champagne S. (G1) at Belmont Park, Jack Christopher was one of the first horses to strike on the 2021-2022 Road to the Kentucky Derby. But whether his success on the prep trail can translate to victory in the 1 & ¼-mile Kentucky Derby (G1) is a key question handicappers must consider. Speed is Jack Christopher’s greatest weapon, which isn’t surprising, since his pedigree contains abundant speed.”

Click here to read the full pedigree profile


Rattle n Roll

“When Rattle N Roll joined the Road to the Kentucky Derby with a powerful 4 1/4-length romp in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1), racing fans were left with an interesting question to ponder—does he have the pedigree to handle the Kentucky Derby’s testing 1 1/4-mile distance? At first glance, one might conclude Rattle N Roll is bred more like a miler than a classic type.”

Click here to read the full pedigree profile