Kentucky Derby 2022: Everything you need to know about the ‘best two minutes in sports’

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Medina Spirit first crossed the line in 2021, but the horse later tested positive for a banned substance, meaning the result was overturned.
The horse’s trainer, Bob Baffert, was then banned for two years from Churchill Downs and the first runner-up Mandaloun was announced the winner of the race.

Baffert then provided a lengthy statement claiming that an ointment used to treat dermatitis may have caused the positive test.

The episode, which took another sad turn after the unexpected death of Medina Spirit in December, arguably continues to overshadow the show which was first held in 1875, but the Derby is keen to leave the controversy in the past.

Without Baffert, who has won the race a record-tying six times, the field is wide open for what promises to be an exciting contest.

Dubbed the “greatest two minutes in sport” – a nod to its approximate length – the Derby is the first race in the coveted Triple Crown of American horse racing, which also includes the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.

Justify – trained by Baffert – was the last horse to win all three races in 2018.

To monitor

Although Baffert has been banned from racing, two of his former horses have a good chance of success.

Messier and Taiba are among the suitors who have been handed over to former Baffert assistant Tim Yakteen, who has been training the horses for this weekend’s showpiece for just over a month.

Yakteen says he had no communication with Baffert before the race but was the subject of extra scrutiny, with some saying they are the 69-year-old trainer’s horses, save for name.

“I’ll be honest, I didn’t know it was going to be like this, but I never would have hesitated,” Yakteen told reporters when asked if he had been hesitant about taking the horses to his barn.

However, Epicenter and Zandon seem to be the two best choices going into the race, with both horses having great potential.

Epicenter trainer Steve Asmussen is the most successful in North American horse racing history, but he failed to win the Derby in his 23 attempts.

Zandon, meanwhile, is coming off an impressive performance last time out that established him as the race favorite.

How to watch

The Derby will air in the United States on NBC, NBC’s website and app with coverage of all of Saturday’s races starting at noon.

The iconic race is scheduled to start at 6:57 p.m. ET.

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