Comparing the 2022 Kentucky Derby Horses to past winners

Churchill Downs will be thundering on May 7 as 20 horses will line up for “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports”. And for that occasion, we’ve looked at which horses fit the profile of past winners, when it comes to the number of days they’ve not run before the big event.

To determine that, we looked at the ‘days not run’ for all the horses that make up the field for the 2022 Kentucky Derby, and compared them to the ‘days not run’ for the horses that won in the last decade.

Winning HorseDays not runYear
Country House212019
Always Dreaming352017
American Pharoah212015
California Chrome282014
I'll Have Another282012
Animal Kingdom422011
Super Saver212010

Considering the average for the last decade, eight horses are close to the sweet spot

The average number of ‘days not run’ for all the winners of the Kentucky Derby for the past decade is 32.

Looking at the 2022 field, eight horses have not run for around the same time.

Charge It, Tiz the Bomb, Simplification, Barber Road, White Abarrio, Cyberknife, Classic Causeway and Rich Strike have not run for 35 days before being scheduled to race at Churchill Downs on Saturday.

HorseDays not run
Mo Donegal28
Happy Jack28
Summer Is Tomorrow42
Smile Happy28
Crown Pride42
Charge It35
Tiz the Bomb35
Pioneer of Medina42
Barber Road35
White Abarrio35
Classic Causeway35
Tawny Port21
Ethereal Road21
Rich Strike35
Rattle B Roll28

Who matches Mandaloun, the 2021 Kentucky Derby winner?

Mandaloun romped to a victory in 2021 after having not run for 42 days.

From the current field, Epicenter, Summer is Tomorrow, Crown Pride, Pioneer of Medina and Zozos look to be adapting a similar approach.

All of them are also in the same vein as Animal Kingdom, who won the 2011 Kentucky Derby.

They’re also seven days behind the record of Authentic, the 2020 Kentucky Derby winner, the record holder for most days not run for a winning horse for the last decade.

Tawny Port trying to emulate three winners

Tawny Port enters the Kentucky Derby as the horse with the least number of days not run (21).

Worry not Tawny Port, three winning horses came to Churchill Downs in the same state - Country House (2019), American Pharoah (2015) and Super Saver (2010).

What about the rest?

With 28 days of not having run, we have Mo Donegal, Happy Jack, Smile Happy, Messier, Zandon, Taiba and Rattle B Roll.

They’re outside the average for the last decade, and also behind the days not run for the last two winners.

But, they can take inspiration from three past winners - Justify (2018), California Chrome (2014) and I’ll Have Another (2012).

Not to forget that Zandon is one of the favorites in the field.

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Photo by Mathew Schwartz