Mucciolo's Early Kentucky Derby Top 11 for 2022

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

November 11th, 2021

It’s never too early to talk about the Kentucky Derby. With less than six months remaining until the 2022 Run for the Roses, I have tabbed some two-year-olds that I will keep a keen eye on leading up to the the First Saturday in May.


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Corniche with Mike Smith riding wins the Breeders Cup Juvenile at Del Mar Race Track (Photo by Horsephotos)

Unblemished likely champion displayed two gears at Del Mar in the Juvenile (G1); showing big early speed before settling, and then virtually rebreaking when the competition came close to him. He is the clear number one at the moment, but earning points will require a trainer change.


Maiden has performed fairly well in consecutive Grade 1 tilts and seems poised for a big 2022. The Pletcher pupil ran just evenly in the Juvenile, but he possesses a good foundation and has a high ceiling in my opinion.

Jack Christopher

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Jack Christopher rounding the corner to win the Champagne Stakes (Photo by Dom Napolitano/Coglianese Photos)

Chestnut colt from the barn of Chad Brown has been brilliant from two career races to date, led by a tour-de-force in the Champagne S. (G1) at Belmont Park. An unfortunate scratch in the Breeders’ Cup, the Munnings youngster will be a formidable foe on the Triple Crown Trail with improvement going forward.

Rattle N Roll

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Rattle N Roll winning the Breeders' Futurity (G1) at Keeneland - Coady Photography

Connect colt was super impressive in his Breeders’ Futurity (G1) romp for McPeek. The Kentucky-bred was forced to miss the Juvenile due to a foot abscess, but his late kick could yield substantial dividends in the future.

Giant Game

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Giant Game getting ready for the Breeders' Cup (Photo by Horsephotos)

Son of Giant’s Causeway made a menacing middle move in the Juvenile (G1) before ultimately checking in third in his graded stakes bow. Dale Romans trainee gives the impression of a fine prospect who will have no distance limitations in 2022.

Major General

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Major General winning the Iroquois S. (G3) at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography

Second from the Pletcher shedrow is perfect from two starts, displaying courage on each occasion, topped by a game score in the Iroquois S. (G3) beneath the Twin Spires. The $420,000 Constitution colt will get every chance to prove himself in Florida over the winter.


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Pappacap getting ready for the Breeders' Cup (Photo by Horsephotos)

Rustlewood Farm homebred ran a winning race in defeat in the Juvenile (G1) when finishing a clear second behind Corniche. Son of dynamic young sire Gun Runner has moved forward since stretching out, and his five-race two-year-old campaign gives him a fine foundation to build upon during his sophomore season.

High Oak

Mott pupil looked too good in his Saratoga Special (G2) victory to give up hope following an unplaced showing in the subsequent Hopeful S. (G1) at The Spa. The son of Gormley is from an excellent female line, and I expect him to be a natural at two turns when he stretches out in distance.


The $1.5 million topper at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale has posted just a trio of morning works at Churchill Downs to date, but if he runs to his ticket price, then he could be any kind of horse. Quality Road colt hails from a sensational female family, and I am anxiously awaiting his debut for Dallas Stewart. Well-respected consignor Eddie Woods stated, “he’s the best video I have had on a horse in the last five or six years”.


Chestnut colt has performed well from a pair of sprint races in the Bluegrass State to this stage of his development, but I feel that the March foal will improve considerably as the distances increase. Gun Runner colt is bred to handle a route of ground, and he’s an interesting under-the-radar type in my opinion.

Marr Time

Smart debut winner for Brad Cox is a half-sister to Beholder, Into Mischief, Mendelssohn et al. That’s good enough for me!