Louis Rabaut’s Derby & Oaks Top Ten
It’s the last Friday in March, the time of year when we start to refer to days as “last” and “first.”
It’s been anything but a clean road to this year’s 148th rendition of the Kentucky Derby: the race’s most prominent trainer, Bob Baffert, was given a 90 day suspension, and his barn not allowed to participate in this year’s running. This week, several of his horses which will make appearances on this list moved from his training to competing barns. Messier, Doppelganger, and McLaren Vale will all move to the Tim Yakteen barn, and Blackadder, winner of the El Camino Real Derby and a guaranteed starter for the Preakness, moves to Rudolphe Brisset’s.
There was a time when some of us wondered whether these horses would ever change trainers, ever even be considered for the Churchill Downs 20 horse starting gate. At last, we got our answer this week. It is not clear, however, if Baffert and owners consider any of their fillies to be worthy of a move to another barn for a try at the Kentucky Oaks; Baffert says those decisions will be made within the week, per the L.A. Times.
We’re timing these rankings ahead of the start of #100PointRaceSZN, where winners are awarded 100 points toward the Kentucky Derby points standings. These are win-and-you’re-in races, and have recently predicted the winner of the race in a meaningful way. Heck, even second place finishers will receive 40 points, usually enough to catapult them into a starting spot in the Derby gate.
We’ve already had meaningful 50 point preps – The Risen Star at Fair Grounds, The Rebel at Oaklawn Park, The Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park, the Gotham at Aqueduct, and the Tampa Bay Derby. All of those winners should have secured a starting spot, and many make this top ten.
So, without further ado, here are my Derby and Oaks rankings, new shooters included:
KENTUCKY DERBY TOP 10, 3/25/2022 KENTUCKY OAKS TOP 10, 3/25/2022
Horse Name (Trainer) Horse Name (Trainer)
- Forbidden Kingdom (Mandella) 1. Secret Oath (Lukas)
- Secret Oath* (Lukas) 2. Echo Zulu (Asmussen)
- Epicenter (Asmussen) 3. Nest (Pletcher)
- White Abarrio (Jospeh, Jr.) 4. Turnerloose (Cox)
- Classic Causeway (Lynch) 5. Venti Valentine (Abreu)
- Simplification (Sano) 6. Shotgun Hottie (Morey)
- In Due Time* (Breen) 7. Ice Orchid (Ortiz)
- Ethereal Road (Lukas) 8. Juju’s Map (Cox)
- Smile Happy (McPeek) 9. Hidden Connection (Calhoun)
- Blackadder (Brisset) 10. Optionality (Asmussen)