Get ready, racing fans! An overflow field of 22 talented three-year-old Thoroughbreds has been entered in the 148th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs, presenting one of the hardest handicapping challenges of the year.

The historic 1 1/4-mile race features a maximum of 20 starters, so two horses—Rich Strike and Rattle N Roll—are also-eligible entrants who will only start if there are sufficient scratches from the main body of the field.

On paper, the 2022 Kentucky Derby is shaping up to be an ultra-competitive race with many viable win contenders. Let's meet the full field:

Mo Donegal
Total 5 start(s) Top Speed Rating: (111) when winning the Wood Memorial (G2).
Wins: 3 Total Earnings: $621,800
Place: 0
Show: 2
Owner: Donegal Racing and Repole Stable Sire: Uncle Mo
Breeder: Ashview Farm and Colts Neck Stables Dam: Callingmissbrown
Trainer: Todd Pletcher Color: Bay
Jockey: Irad Ortiz
Mo Donegal
Mo Donegal wins the Wood Memorial (Photo by Chelsea Durand/Coglianese Photos)

Drawing the rail isn't ideal in the 20-horse Kentucky Derby field, but if any horse can overcome this obstacle, it's Mo Donegal. The stretch-running colt is less likely to be affected by drawing inside, since he'll be dropping off the early pace anyway. Mo Donegal displayed a terrific turn of foot in the Wood Memorial (G2) four weeks ago, sprinting the final three furlongs in a blazing :35.61 to get up and win by a neck with a 111 Brisnet Speed rating, tied for the highest in the Kentucky Derby field. Mo Donegal also showed grit and determination to defeat future Blue Grass S. (G1) winner Zandon in the Remsen S. (G2) last fall, so any way you slice it, Mo Donegal has to be viewed as a formidable win threat under three-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey Irad Ortiz.

Happy Jack
Total 4 start(s) Top Speed Rating: (97) when finishing third in the Santa Anita Derby (G1).
Wins: 1 Total Earnings: $182,200
Place: 0
Show: 2
Owner: Calumet Farm Sire: Oxbow
Breeder: Calumet Farm Dam: Tapitstry
Trainer: Doug O'Neill Color: Bay
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano
Happy Jack
Happy Jack (Photo by Benoit Photos)

Happy Jack qualified for the Kentucky Derby via third-place finishes in the San Felipe S. (G2) and Santa Anita Derby (G1) on the tough California circuit. But Happy Jack was beaten by double-digit margins in both of those races, suggesting he'll need a step forward to challenge in the Kentucky Derby. On the bright side, trainer Doug O'Neill has won the Derby twice with I'll Have Another (2012) and Nyquist (2016).

Epicenter
Total 6 start(s) Top Speed Rating: (101) when winning the Louisiana Derby (G2).
Wins: 4 Total Earnings: $1,010,639
Place: 1
Show: 0
Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds Sire: Not This Time
Breeder: Westwind Farms Dam: Silent Candy
Trainer: Steve Asmussen Color: Bay
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Epicenter
Epicenter wins the Risen Star Stakes (Photo by Amanda Hodges-Weir/Hodges Photography)

Epicenter has improved by leaps and bounds in recent months and is one head defeat away from bringing a five-race win streak into the Kentucky Derby. Two starts back, he wired a deep field in the Risen Star S. (G2), counting fellow Kentucky Derby starters Smile Happy, Zandon, Pioneer of Medina, and Tawny Port among his beaten rivals. Then Epicenter showed a new dimension in the Louisiana Derby (G2), rating behind the leaders before pouncing to victory by 2 1/2 lengths. Epicenter did drift in noticeably down the homestretch of the Louisiana Derby, and he risks a tricky Kentucky Derby trip while breaking from post 3 with speed horses to his outside. But Epicenter's Brisnet Speed ratings are trending in a promising direction, and he has to be respected based off the company he defeated on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

Summer Is Tomorrow
Total 7 start(s) Top Speed Rating: N/A
Wins: 2 Total Earnings: $267,606
Place: 3
Show: 0
Owner: Michael Hilary and Negar Burke Sire: Summer Front
Breeder: Brereton C. Jones Dam: Always Tomorrow
Trainer: Bhupat Seemar Color: Bay
Jockey: Mickael Barzalona
Summer is Tomorrow
Summer is Tomorrow work at Churchill Downs (Photo by Coady Photography)

This Dubai raider has lots of early speed and set a fast pace when second in the UAE Derby (G2) last time out. But the son of Summer Front is arguably bred more like a turf horse than a dirt star, and he was weakening down the homestretch of the UAE Derby, so stepping up in class and distance for the Kentucky Derby could be challenging.

Smile Happy
Total 4 start(s) Top Speed Rating: (101) when finishing second in the Blue Grass S. (G1).
Wins: 2 Total Earnings: $549,810
Place: 2
Show: 0
Owner: Lucky Seven Stable Sire: Runhappy
Breeder: Moreau Bloodstock Int'l and White Bloodstock Dam: Pleasant Smile
Trainer: Kenny McPeek Color: Dark bay/brown
Jockey: Corey Lanerie
Smile Happy
Smile Happy wins the Kentucky Jockey Club (Photo by Coady Photography)

It's hard to knock anything Smile Happy has accomplished to date. He dominated the Kentucky Jockey Club S. (G2) at Churchill Downs last fall, counting future Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner Classic Causeway and Florida Derby (G1) hero White Abarrio among his beaten rivals. This year, Smile Happy has run second in the Risen Star S. (G2) behind Epicenter and second in the Blue Grass S. (G1) behind Zandon. The latter effort saw Smile Happy race closer to the early pace than usual, which may have softened his late kick. Returning to closing tactics in the Kentucky Derby may trigger a step forward.

Messier
Total 6 start(s) Top Speed Rating: (108) when finishing second in the Santa Anita Derby (G1).
Wins: 3 Total Earnings: $435,600
Place: 3
Show: 0
Owner: SF Racing, Starlight Racing, et al. Sire: Empire Maker
Breeder: Sam-Son Farm Dam: Checkered Past
Trainer: Tim Yakteen Color: Bay
Jockey: John Velazquez
Messier
Messier wins the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (Photo by Horsephotos.com)

The stoutly bred Messier has run strongly in both of his starts at Santa Anita this season. After obliterating the Robert B. Lewis S. (G3) by 15 lengths with a 104 Brisnet Speed rating, Messier improved to a 108 when second in the Santa Anita Derby (G1). The latter race saw Messier press a quick pace in his first start off a two-month break before weakening late to finish just 2 1/4 lengths behind talented stablemate Taiba. Messier has trained strongly since then and is eligible to step forward at Churchill Downs, setting the stage for a victorious run under three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey John Velazquez.

Crown Pride
Total 4 start(s) Top Speed Rating: N/A
Wins: 3 Total Earnings: $734,569
Place: 0
Show: 0
Owner: Teruya Yoshida Sire: Reach the Crown
Breeder: Shadai Farm Dam: Emmy's Pride
Trainer: Koichi Shintani Color: Dark bay/brown
Jockey: Christophe Lemaire
Crown Pride
Crown Pride wins the UAE Derby (Photo by Dubai Racing Club)

Japanese horses have enjoyed extraordinary success on an international stage over the last six months, and perhaps their momentum can continue with Crown Pride. After going 2-for-3 to start his career in Japan, Crown Pride traveled to Dubai for the UAE Derby (G2), where he settled off the early leaders before rallying boldly to win by 2 3/4 lengths. The UAE Derby wasn't the fastest race on paper, but Crown Pride has trained strongly at Churchill Downs and has upside for improvement in his third run of the season. Don't dismiss Crown Pride from contention—a top-four finish may be within reach.

Charge It
Total 3 start(s) Top Speed Rating: (98) when breaking his maiden at Gulfstream Park.
Wins: 1 Total Earnings: $230,400
Place: 2
Show: 0
Owner: Whisper Hill Farm Sire: Tapit
Breeder: Whisper Hill Farm Dam: I'll Take Charge
Trainer: Todd Pletcher Color: Gray/roan
Jockey: Luis Saez
Charge It
Charge It at Churchill Downs (Photo by Coady Photography)

Charge It's pedigree contains some of the most productive bloodlines in U.S. racing, and the gray colt flashed plenty of promise when finishing second in the Florida Derby (G1) last month. But Charge It raced very greenly that day, hitting the gate and racing hesitantly in traffic before drifting in repeatedly down the homestretch. Charge It may have been the best horse in the Florida Derby, but his inexperience arguably got in the way. The Kentucky Derby thus presents a challenge for Charge It: can he race more professionally while squaring off against a much larger field in only his fourth career start?

Tiz the Bomb
Total 8 start(s) Top Speed Rating: (101) when winning the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3).
Wins: 5 Total Earnings: $1,044,401
Place: 1
Show: 0
Owner: Magdalena Racing, Lessee Sire: Hit It a Bomb
Breeder: Spendthrift Farm Dam: Tiz the Key
Trainer: Kenny McPeek Color: Bay
Jockey: Brian Hernandez
Tiz the Bomb
Tiz the Bomb winning the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park (Photo by Coady Photography)

A seventh-place finish in the Holy Bull S. (G3) on dirt has convinced some bettors Tiz the Bomb is better on turf and synthetic, the surfaces over which he's secured his four career stakes wins. But Tiz the Bomb broke his maiden by 14 1/4 lengths over the Ellis Park dirt track last summer, suggesting his Holy Bull no-show may have been a fluke. Tiz the Bomb was a fast winner of the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) over the Turfway Tapeta last month, defeating next-out Lexington S. (G3) winner Tawny Port by 2 1/4 lengths with a 101 Brisnet Speed rating, so Tiz the Bomb offers some longshot appeal in the Kentucky Derby.

Zandon
Total 4 start(s) Top Speed Rating: (103) when winning the Blue Grass S. (G1).
Wins: 2 Total Earnings: $713,000
Place: 1
Show: 1
Owner: Jeff Drown Sire: Upstart
Breeder: Brereton C. Jones Dam: Memories Prevail
Trainer: Chad Brown Color: Dark bay/brown
Jockey: Flavien Prat
Zandon
Zandon winning the Blue Grass S. (G1) at Keeneland (Coady Photography)

Never out of the trifecta in four starts, Zandon has kept good company on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Runner-up by a nose against Mo Donegal in the Remsen S. (G2), and third behind Epicenter and Smile Happy in the Risen Star S. (G2), Zandon took a big step forward in the Blue Grass S. (G1) at Keeneland four weeks after. After dropping back to last place entering the far turn, Zandon unleashed a powerful rally through traffic to surge past Smile Happy and win by 2 1/2 lengths with a 103 Brisnet Speed rating. The Kentucky Derby will mark his third run of the season (a strong angle in the past for Chad Brown-trained Kentucky Derby contenders), so look for Zandon to produce another competitive showing on Saturday.

Pioneer of Medina
Total 6 start(s) Top Speed Rating: (96) when finishing third in the Louisiana Derby (G2).
Wins: 2 Total Earnings: $181,350
Place: 1
Show: 2
Owner: Sumaya U. S. Stables Sire: Pioneerof the Nile
Breeder: International Equities Holdings Dam: Lights of Medina
Trainer: Todd Pletcher Color: Bay
Jockey: Joe Bravo
Pioneer of Medina
Pioneer of Medina at Churchill Downs (Photo by Coady Photography)

Pioneer of Medina knocked heads with some tough rivals during the winter and spring, finishing fourth in the Risen Star S. (G2) behind Epicenter, Smile Happy, and Zandon and third in the Louisiana Derby (G2) behind Epicenter and Zozos. But Pioneer of Medina's career-best 96 Brisnet Speed rating looks a little light against the Kentucky Derby field. Perhaps dropping blinkers will help this speedy colt relax off the lead and produce an improved performance. 

Taiba
Total 2 start(s) Top Speed Rating: (111) when winning the Santa Anita Derby (G1).
Wins: 2 Total Earnings: $490,200
Place: 0
Show: 0
Owner: Zedan Racing Stables Sire: Gun Runner
Breeder: Bruce C. Ryan Dam: Needmore Flattery
Trainer: Tim Yakteen Color: Chestnut
Jockey: Mike Smith
Taiba
Taiba wins the Santa Anita Derby (Photo by Benoit Photos)

Undefeated in two starts, Taiba ran a huge race in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) four weeks ago, unleashing a powerful finish to run down stablemate Messier and win by 2 1/4 lengths with a 111 Brisnet Speed rating. But can Taiba repeat the feat while facing a much larger field in his third career start, and only his second start around two turns? To date, only Leonatus in 1883 has won the Kentucky Derby off two career starts, so Taiba will have to buck more than a century of history to prevail on Saturday. But he might just have enough raw talent to get the job done under two-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Mike Smith. 

Simplification
Total 7 start(s) Top Speed Rating: (103) when breaking his maiden at Gulfstream Park.
Wins: 3 Total Earnings: $515,350
Place: 1
Show: 2
Owner: Tami Bobo and Tristan De Meric Sire: Not This Time
Breeder: France Weiner and Irwin Weiner Dam: Simply Confection
Trainer: Antonio Sano Color: Bay
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Simplification
Simplification wins the Fountain of Youth Stakes (Photo by Coglianese Photos)

A dominant winner of the Fountain of Youth S. (G2) when employing stretch-running tactics, Simplification also displayed serious speed when dueling for the lead through fast fractions in the Florida Derby (G1). Although he weakened to finish third in the latter race, Simplification was only beaten 2 1/4 lengths while finishing best of the speed horses. Returning to an off-the-pace running style can potentially help Simplification move forward in the Kentucky Derby, so don't dismiss this accomplished colt from superfecta consideration.

Barber Road
Total 8 start(s) Top Speed Rating: (93) when finishing second in the Lively Shively S.
Wins: 2 Total Earnings: $650,720
Place: 1
Show: 2
Owner: WSS Racing Sire: Race Day
Breeder: Susan Forrester and Judy Curry Dam: Encounter
Trainer: John Ortiz Color: Gray/roan
Jockey: Reylu Gutierrez
Barber Road
Barber Road at Churchill Downs (Photo by Coady Photography)

Although Barber Road has yet to win at the stakes level, this former claimer has finished second or third in five consecutive stakes, including four on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. A late rally carried Barber Road to an encouraging runner-up finish in the Arkansas Derby (G1) five weeks ago, but his career-best 93 Brisnet Speed rating (earned in a sprint) looks a little light against this deep Kentucky Derby field.

White Abarrio
Total 5 start(s) Top Speed Rating: (97) when winning the Holy Bull S. (G3).
Wins: 4 Total Earnings: $823,650
Place: 0
Show: 1
Owner: C2 Racing Stable and La Milagrosa Stable Sire: Race Day
Breeder: Spendthrift Farm Dam: Catching Diamonds
Trainer: Saffie Joseph Color: Gray/roan
Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione
White Abarrio
White Abarrio wins the Florida Derby (Photo by Lauren King/Coglianese Photos)

With two victories from two starts this season, White Abarrio enters the Kentucky Derby in hot form. A pace-tracking trip carried White Abarrio to a 4 1/2-length victory in the Holy Bull S. (G3) over Simplification and Mo Donegal, after which he rallied from just behind the leaders to win the Florida Derby (G1) over Charge It and Simplification. But a pace meltdown benefited White Abarrio in the Florida Derby, and with a career-best 97 Brisnet Speed rating, White Abarrio is a bit slower on paper than the Kentucky Derby favorites.

Cyberknife
Total 6 start(s) Top Speed Rating: (94) when winning the Arkansas Derby (G1).
Wins: 3 Total Earnings: $860,000
Place: 2
Show: 0
Owner: Gold Square Sire: Gun Runner
Breeder: Kenneth L. Ramsey and Sarah K. Ramsey Dam: Awesome Flower
Trainer: Brad Cox Color: Chestnut
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Cyberknife
Cyberknife wins the Arkansas Derby (Photo by Coady Photography)

Cyberknife has come to hand impressively in recent starts, dominating an allowance at Fair Grounds before employing stalking tactics to trounce the Arkansas Derby (G1) by 2 3/4 lengths. But Cyberknife wasn't facing the toughest competition on paper, and the back-to-back 94 Brisnet Speed ratings he received are lower than the figures posted by the Kentucky Derby favorites. Cyberknife may need another step forward to challenge against a deeper field at Churchill Downs.

Classic Causeway
Total 6 start(s) Top Speed Rating: (99) when winning the Sam F. Davis S. (G3).
Wins: 3 Total Earnings: $521,100
Place: 1
Show: 1
Owner: Kentucky West Racing and Clarke M. Cooper Sire: Giant's Causeway
Breeder: Kentucky West Racing and Clarke M. Cooper Family Living Trust Dam: Private World
Trainer: Brian Lynch Color: Chestnut
Jockey: Julien Leparoux
Classic Causeway
Classic Causeway wins the Tampa Bay Derby (Photo by SV Photography)
Classic Causeway was in hot form during the winter at Tampa Bay Downs, rattling off pacesetting victories in the Sam F. Davis S. (G3) and Tampa Bay Derby (G2). But Classic Causeway got burned up when dueling for the lead against tougher competition in the Florida Derby (G1), retreating to finish last of 11. Can he bounce back against an even deeper field in the Kentucky Derby? Avoiding a hot pace would surely benefit Classic Causeway's chances, but there are several other speed horses in the Derby field, and a contested tempo seems likely.
Tawny Port
Total 5 start(s) Top Speed Rating: (99) when finishing second in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3).
Wins: 3 Total Earnings: $427,000
Place: 1
Show: 0
Owner: Peachtree Stable Sire: Pioneerof the Nile
Breeder: WinStar Farm Dam: Livi Makenzie
Trainer: Brad Cox Color: Dark bay/brown
Jockey: Ricardo Santana
Tawny Port
Tawny Port wins the Lexington Stakes (Photo by Coady Photography)
Tawny Port's dirt form isn't bad; he finished fifth behind Epicenter, Smile Happy, Zandon, and Pioneer of Medina in the Risen Star S. (G2) and most recently won the Lexington S. (G3) against easier competition. But Tawny Port is 2-for-3 over the Turfway Park Tapeta track and posted his career-best 99 Brisnet Speed rating when second in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) over that footing, suggesting he might prefer synthetic to the dirt he'll encounter at Churchill Downs.
Zozos
Total 3 start(s) Top Speed Rating: (98) when finishing second in the Louisiana Derby (G2).
Wins: 2 Total Earnings: $291,200
Place: 1
Show: 0
Owner: Barry and Joni Butzow Sire: Munnings
Breeder: Barry Butzow and Joni Butzow Dam: Papa's Forest
Trainer: Brad Cox Color: Dark bay/brown
Jockey: Manny Franco
Zozos
Zozos at Churchill Downs (Photo by Coady Photography)

After winning his first two starts against maiden and allowance company, Zozos produced a strong effort in the Louisiana Derby (G2), carving out the pace before settling for second place behind Epicenter. Zozos ran gamely and appeared to be gaining back a little ground through the final sixteenth of a mile, but the Kentucky Derby will mark a much tougher test. Zozos is bred to thrive as a sprinter/miler, and he risks a wide trip while breaking from post 19. 

Ethereal Road
Total 7 start(s) Top Speed Rating: (91) when finishing second in the Rebel S. (G2).
Wins: 1 Total Earnings: $294,545
Place: 1
Show: 1
Owner: Julie Gilbert and Aaron Sones Sire: Quality Road
Breeder: Paul Pompa Jr. Dam: Sustained
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas Color: Bay
Jockey: Luis Contreras
Ethereal Road
Ethereal Road at Churchill Downs (Photo by Coady Photography)

A wide trip arguably cost Ethereal Road victory in the Rebel S. (G2) three starts back, as he was only beaten half a length by the ground-saving Un Ojo while finishing a nose clear of Barber Road. But Ethereal Road hasn't run quite as well since then, finishing seventh in the Blue Grass S. (G1) and fourth in the Lexington S. (G3). With a career-best 91 Brisnet Speed rating, Ethereal Road will likely need a step forward to challenge for a top-four finish in the Kentucky Derby, especially while breaking from the tricky outside post.

Rich Strike
Total 7 start(s) Top Speed Rating: (95) when finishing third in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3).
Wins: 1 Total Earnings: $111,289
Place: 0
Show: 3
Owner: RED TR-Racing Sire: Keen Ice
Breeder: Calumet Farm Dam: Gold Strike
Trainer: Eric Reed Color: Chestnut
Jockey: Sonny Leon
Rich Strike
Rich Strike at Churchill Downs (Photo by Coady Photography)

Rich Strike ran well over the Turfway Park Tapeta during the winter and spring, finishing third in the Leonatus S., fourth in the John Battaglia Memorial, and third in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3). But the latter two races saw Rich Strike finish well behind Tiz the Bomb, and Rich Strike hasn't been as strong on dirt, so switching surfaces at Churchill Downs could be a challenge if Rich Strike draws in off the also-eligible list.   

Rattle N Roll
Total 7 start(s) Top Speed Rating: (95) when winning the Breeders' Futurity (G1).
Wins: 2 Total Earnings: $435,960
Place: 0
Show: 1
Owner: Lucky Seven Stable Sire: Connect
Breeder: St Simon Place Dam: Jazz Tune
Trainer: Kenny McPeek Color: Chestnut
Jockey: James Graham
Rattle N Roll
Rattle N Roll wins the Breeders' Futurity (Photo by Coady Photography)

The second also-eligible runner looked like a star in the making when dominating the Breeders' Futurity (G2) by 4 1/4 lengths last fall. But Rattle N Roll hasn't cracked the trifecta in three subsequent starts, finishing sixth in the Fountain of Youth S. (G2), fourth in the Louisiana Derby (G2), and sixth in the Blue Grass S. (G1). Rattle N Roll's late-running style is suited to picking up a piece of the purse in the Kentucky Derby, but he'll need a couple of scratches to draw in off the also-eligible list.