The first graded Kentucky Derby prep race of the year happened this past Saturday on Jan. 22. The Grade 3 Lecomte produced three Kentucky Derby prospects. After the Grade 3 Southwest at Oaklawn and the Grade 2 San Vicente at Santa Anita, we’ll be well on the Derby Trail. Why concentrate on the Kentucky Derby when talking Triple Crown? Only the Derby winner can take the TC. So any discussion about whether or not there will be a Triple Crown in 2022 means finding the Kentucky Derby winner.
Check out our Triple Crown Betting analysis update.
After G3 Lecomte Kentucky Derby Prep Race, Will 2022 Have a Triple Crown?
Triple Crown of Horse Racing
- When: May 7 – June 11
Kentucky Derby Top 20 Points Leaders
- Rattle and Roll
- Jack Cristopher
- Make It Big
- Slow Down Andy
- Major General
- Dash Attack
- Mo Donegal
- Call Me Midnight
- Classic Causeway
- Double Thunder
- Giant Game
- Tejano Twist
- Oviatt Class
- Barber Road
Why there won’t be a Triple Crown winner in 2022
Only 13 horses have won the Triple Crown in the series history. Sir Barton took the first TC in 1919. The last Triple Crown winner was Justify in 2018.
So in over 100 years, only 13 times has a Triple Crown winner won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. The chances aren’t high that a Triple Crown winner will emerge from this group of 3-year-olds.
Not only that, but the trainer to win the last two Triple Crowns, Bob Baffert, may be banned from running horses in the Kentucky Derby.
Like what the introduction stated, only the Kentucky Derby winner can win the TC, which means not only will the Derby winner require speed to win the Preakness at 1 3/16 miles and stamina to win the Belmont at 1 ½ miles, but the Derby winner must also require luck and a trainer who knows how to navigate the pitfalls that comes with winning 3 races at 3 different distances at 3 different tracks in 5 weeks.
Why there will be a Triple Crown winner in 2022
The odds are always against a Triple Crown winner. Winning the TC is one of the most difficult accomplishments in sports.
But a Triple Crown winner has emerged 13 times in U.S. horse racing history. So the chances of a Crown happening isn’t zero.
The real key is to find horses capable of winning the Derby and then the TC. Right now, Doug O’Neil trained Slow Down Andy has the best shot of winning the Run for the Roses.
O’Neil trained Slow Down Andy’s sire Nyquist to a Derby victory. Nyquist finished third in the Preakness and then skipped the Belmont.
Slow Down Andy won the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Futurity in his last, beating 1-to-9 shot Messier. In the Los Al Futurity, like he did when finishing second in the Golden State Juvenile, Slow Down Andy repeatedly turned his head to the right while running in the stretch.
If O’Neil can fix the tendency, who knows? The Nyquist sired colt could become a Triple Crown type runner. He’s certainly fast enough and with Smart Strike on his bottom, he should have enough stamina to win the Belmont.
It’s too early to say whether or not there will be a Triple Crown in 2022. We’ll have a better idea if a few horses emerge as true Derby contenders. That most likely won’t happen until late March. Until late March, circle and keep an eye on horses like Slow Down Andy, conditioned by past Derby winning trainers and with the requisite breeding to win the Belmont Stakes.