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Last Updated Jun 23, 2022, 20:14 PM

2022 Kentucky Derby Picks, Predictions, Odds

VegasInsider horse racing expert Anthony Stabile will be providing his Free Picks and Finish Predictions for key races throughout the prep season and he's focusing on one race for Saturday, May 7, 2022 -- the 2022 Kentucky Derby.

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Kentucky Derby Resources

  • Date: Saturday, May 7, 2022
  • Post-Time: 6:57 p.m. ET
  • Race: 12
  • Distance-Length: Dirt, 1 1/4 Miles
  • Qualification: Three-year-olds
  • Track: Churchill Downs
  • Location: Louisville, Kentucky
  • Odds: Kentucky Derby Odds
The Kentucky Derby coverage will begin on Sat., May 7 at 2:00 p.m. on NBC. (AP)

Kentucky Derby Picks

IF I'M RIGHT...

  1. (10) Zandon
  2. (3) Epicenter
  3. (5) Smile Happy
  4. (12) Taiba

10 – ZANDON breaks better that he has in his recent starts and positions himself to make his late run count, taking the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby. 3 – EPICENTER is right up with the leaders from the outset but isn’t able to hold off the winner’s stretch kick. 5 – SMILE HAPPY benefits greatly from his second start of the year in the Blue Grass and outruns his price to finish third over lightly raced 12- TAIBA.

SUGGESTED BETS..

  • EXACTA 10 over 3, 5, 12
  • TRIFECTA BOX 3, 5, 10, 12

IF ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE...

  1. (6) Messier
  2. (12) Taiba
  3. (4) Summer is Tomorrow
  4. (18) Tawny Port

6 – MESSIER moves forward off the late dusting he received at the hands of today’s contender 12 – TAIBA in the Santa Anita Derby and keeps on going as long shots 4 – SUMMER IS TOMORROW, 18 – TAWNY PORT and 20 - ETHEREAL ROAD get involved for minor shares of the purse. If any of them win or even hit the board, I will lose.

Editor's Note - 20 Ethereal Road was scratched on Friday

SUGGESTED BETS...

  • EXACTA BOX 4, 6, 12, 18
  • TRIFECTA BOX 4, 6, 12, 18

Kentucky Derby Betting Analysis

(Morning Line Odds)

For the latest Live Kentucky Derby Odds on all of the eligible runners for the Kentucky Derby, check out TwinSpires.

1) MO DONEGAL (10-1)

Jockey: Irad Ortiz, Jr. (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher (Kentucky Derby Wins: 2)

PROS

He offered a sharp late kick when running his record to 2 for 2 at 9 furlongs in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct last month, earning a career best speed figure in the process while running down a loose front runner. Figures to love today’s added distance and with just 5 career races under his belt he could well have more improvement in him.

CONS

While he’s run quite well from an inside draw, he’s an off the pace type who could get swallowed up rather quickly in this bulky field if he doesn’t break alertly. Late running style means he’ll likely need to weave his way through traffic while making his run so racing luck figures to come into play as well.

2) HAPPY JACK (30-1)

Jockey: Rafael Bejarano (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)
Trainer: Doug O'Neill (Kentucky Derby Wins: 2)

PROS

He’s lightly raced and has a pedigree that suggests he’ll appreciate classic distances so maybe today’s extra ground helps him move forward.

CONS

His lone win came sprinting and he hasn’t been close to a couple of today’s rivals in his West coast preps for the Kentucky Derby. There’s not a whole bunch to suggest the necessary move forward will be on tap today.

3) EPICENTER (7-2)

Jockey: Joel Rosario (Kentucky Derby Wins: 1)
Trainer: Steven Asmussen (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)

PROS

He’s beaten several of today’s rivals quite handily in his last couple of starts, most recently in the Louisiana Derby which came at a trip just a half panel short of what he’ll attempt in his return to the scene of his maiden score. Like the way he was able to rate and finish powerfully in his last start after doing his running on the front end prior to that. Have to think that his Hall of Fame trainer, the winningest conditioner of all time, has to break through and get his first Kentucky Derby winner sooner rather than later.

CONS

The main detriment to backing this colt may be the fact he’s one of the betting favorites. There are a thousand ways to lose a horse race and taking the morning line price of 7-2 here, regardless of how well he is likely to run, against a field of 19 rivals is an underlay. That doesn’t mean he won’t win the race, as he is very clearly one of the more likely contenders.

4) SUMMER IS TOMORROW (30-1)

Jockey: Mickael Barzalona (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)
Trainer: Bhupat Seemar (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)

PROS

He ran pretty well in his lone route try last time out and it came at a trip slightly shorter than he will try in the Kentucky Derby.

CONS

He’ll make his stateside debut here after spending his career running at racetracks in UAE. The winner of the UAE Derby who beat him rather handily will return here as well.

5) SMILE HAPPY (20-1)

Jockey: Corey Lanerie (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)
Trainer: Ken McPeek (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)

PROS

He’s taken a step forward with big runner up efforts in his two recent preps for this and be ready to take a good step forward now with those efforts behind him. Like the improved tactical foot he showed from an outside draw in Keeneland’s Blue Grass and being close to the leaders is certainly a benefit in a big field such as this one.

CONS

Though he did find himself in striking range of the leaders last time, the pace was slow and the guy who beat him in that one overcame a slow beginning to make short work of him late.

6) MESSIER (8-1)

Jockey: John Velazquez (Kentucky Derby Wins: 3)
Trainer: Tim Yakteen (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)

PROS

He’s never been worse than second in 6 career starts and he’s earned speed figures that point him out as a big player in this year’s Kentucky Derby. Like the fact that he has early foot that should help keep him out of trouble and work out his own trip.

CONS

He’s run six times in his career, three times of which have come routing including his most recent effort in the Santa Anita Derby, yet he was blown past in that one by one of today’s rivals who had limited race experience.

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7) CROWN PRIDE (20-1)

Jockey: Christophe Lemaire (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)
Trainer: Koichi Shintani (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)

PROS

Japanese bred looked pretty good despite showing some greenness in taking the UAE Derby from a tracking spot in just his fourth career start. Seems as if the added ground won’t pose him much trouble and he does have a right to get better once he gets over his inexperience issues. He worked last week as if he’s taken well to the local main track.

CONS

Foreign campaigned runners traditionally haven’t had any success in this race and the waters do look to get significantly deeper here.

8) CHARGE IT (20-1)

Jockey: Lusi Saez (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher (Kentucky Derby Wins: 3)

PROS

He’s only run three times and most recently ran a big second behind one of these in the Florida Derby despite trouble early and still being quite green. He runs like he’ll love the 10 furlong distance of the Kentucky Derby and he’s been working in terrific fashion over the Churchill Downs main track. The morning line price is very enticing on a runner who clearly has a lot of natural ability.

CONS

He’s clearly still learning the game and this race experience can certainly throw a wrench into well laid-out plans so it remains to be seen how he would react to adversity.

9) TIZ THE BOMB (30-1)

Jockey: Brian Hernandez, Jr. (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)
Trainer: Ken McPeek (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)

PROS

He’s a two time graded stakes winner while routing and he enters this looking for his third straight score.

CONS

He’s earned his big wins on surfaces other than what he will try today and it has been a long time since that maiden win on the Ellis Park dirt. Late runner was no threat for some of these when he raced them earlier in the year on the main track at Gulfstream Park.

10) ZANDON (3-1)

Jockey: Flavien Prat (Kentucky Derby Wins: 1)
Trainer: Chad Brown (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)

PROS

He’s been thought quite highly of by top connections since his sprint debut score last fall and was immediately pointed out as a classics prospect. He’s run very well in all 3 of his route attempts, most recently in a super impressive run in Keeneland’s Blue Grass where he passed all rivals and weaved his way to that open lengths score after getting moderate splits in front of him. It has been reported that no one is working any better than he has since returning to the track a couple of weeks ago.

CONS

He has not broken sharply in either of his starts this year and that could prove a recipe for disaster if repeated in this big Kentucky Derby field. The morning line favorite, it’s tough to accept that price given the plethora of challengers signed on here, though that won’t matter much to him.

11) PIONEER OF MEDINA (30-1)

Jockey: Joe Bravo (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher (Kentucky Derby Wins: 3)

PROS

He’s been progressing quite nicely on the speed figure scale of late and he exits a solid third place finish in the Louisiana Derby which was contested at 1 3/16 miles. Possesses sharp tactical foot which can help him sit a good trip and he resides in a barn that knows how to get runners up to peak performances in this race.

CONS

This is an interesting spot in which to remove blinkers which appeared to be key to his improvement this past winter. He really wasn’t a serious threat late in his last 2 starts to runners he’ll catch again in this race.

12) TAIBA (12-1)

Jockey: Mike Smith (Kentucky Derby Wins: 2)
Trainer: Tim Yakteen (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)

PROS

He’s run huge in both of his starts, earning some of the better speed figures in here. His effort in the Santa Anita Derby was quite amazing given it was just his second career start and his first attempt at 2 turns and he simply dusted a rather good and considerably more seasoned foe in the lane. Colt is quick and now that he’s shown he possesses a tracking gear it would be little surprise if he were to continue to impress at this longer distance. At his morning line price of 12-1 he’s a huge overlay and though some are giving him a little flack for what looked to be a lackluster final drill for this engagement, the time of the move was solid and the clock doesn’t lie.

CONS

He’s only run twice and no Kentucky Derby winner has ever done so in just his third career start.

13) SIMPLIFICATION (20-1)

Jockey: Jose Ortiz (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)
Trainer: Antonio Sano (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)

PROS

Faced a good bunch of 3 year-olds over the winter in Florida and more than held his own with some of the guys that he will catch again in here. Maybe arguing the fractions in the Florida Derby was his real undoing and the ability he showed to rate in the Fountain of Youth would certainly serve him well today.

CONS

This Florida bred has been handled rather easily by White Abarrio each of the last two times they’ve met on the racetrack.

14) BARBER ROAD (30-1)

Jockey: Reylu Gutierrez (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)
Trainer: John Ortiz (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)

PROS

He was really rallying late up the fence when getting second money behind Cyberknife in the Arkansas Derby and looked to be a runner crying out for the added real estate of this race.

CONS

He’s yet to run particularly fast on the speed figure scale and his off the pace style could cause him traffic issues in the lane with little time to navigate around them.

15) WHITE ABARRIO (10-1)

Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)
Trainer: Saffie Joseph, Jr. (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)

PROS

Florida Derby winner did little wrong in his 2 starts in Florida this winter and is another who doesn’t look as if he’ll be negatively impacted by the added ground of this race. His speed figures fit well and his rider has won the last handful of jockey titles at Churchill Downs.

CONS

The barn has certainly found a home at Gulfstream Park over the past few years and their shippers have not had nearly as much success.

16) CYBERKNIFE (20-1)

Jockey: Florent Geroux (Kentucky Derby Wins: 1)
Trainer: Brad Cox (Kentucky Derby Wins: 1)

PROS

His only real poor effort came when blinkers were put on for his wide run in the LeComte this winter in New Orleans and he has since taken a couple of good steps forward. Given his pedigree and from what he’s shown since sent long, the distance doesn’t figure to pose him much problem. His rider and barn were declared winners of last year’s Kentucky Derby with Mandaloun. He’s another whose natural tactical foot should only help to keep him out of trouble and he’s working in the mornings like he’s got more to offer.

CONS

He will need to get faster than he’s shown to be thus far, though that’s far from out of the question.

Kentucky Derby Best Bets

17) CLASSIC CAUSEWAY (30-1)

Jockey: Julien Leparoux (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)
Trainer: Brian Lynch (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)

PROS

He’s shown he has sharp early foot and a clean break likely allows him to compete for a spot on the front end today. Colt has shown that he can shake off early pace pressure and prevail.

CONS

Had little resistance to offer in the Florida Derby, his final prep for this when rivals looked him in the eye and he retreated to finish last behind several of today’s foes in that 11 horse field. He won’t have things to himself on the lead this time and his regular rider opts to ride someone else.

18) TAWNY PORT (30-1)

Jockey: Ricardo Santana, Jr. (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)
Trainer: Brad Cox (Kentucky Derby Wins: 1)

PROS

He’s only been off the board once in 5 career tries and enters this off a rallying score into a moderate pace when returning to a dirt surface.

CONS

Exits a relatively slowly run Lexington at Keeneland in which he beat a questionable bunch of 3 year-olds. He was well behind some of the bigger threats in this race in the Risen Star this winter and will need to show quite a bit more to make up the needed ground on them to factor for even a minor share here.

19) ZOZOS (20-1)

Jockey: Manny Franco (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)
Trainer: Brad Cox (Kentucky Derby Wins: 1)

PROS

He’s shown the ability to fire from both on and off the pace and he gave a pretty good account of himself in his first stakes attempt, the Louisiana Derby, in his lone defeat from 3 career starts. He’s learning and improving and has been working like he is going to keep getting better.

CONS

He’ll need to break alertly to use his positional foot to get into the race from this extreme outside draw. His pedigree doesn’t exactly scream 10 furlongs and though he tried a slightly shorter 1 3/16 miles last time, he wasn’t particularly strong late. His rider opts to stick with another of this barn’s runners today.

20) ETHEREAL ROAD (30-1)

Editor's Note: Ethereal Road was scratched from the Kentucky Derby on Friday morning.

Jockey: Luis Contreras (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas (Kentucky Derby Wins: 4)

PROS

Rewarded his barn’s confidence with the rise to graded stakes company in the Rebel straight off a maiden score with a solid runner up effort and he did have trouble early when last seen in the Lexington at Keeneland.

CONS

He’ll start from a tough outside post while making his third start in just four weeks and hasn’t run nearly fast enough to be considered any type of threat in this field.

21) RICH STRIKE (30-1)

Editor's Note: Due to the Ethereal Road scratch, Rich Strike will now be entered into the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby.

Jockey: Sonny Leon (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)
Trainer: Eric Reed (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)

PROS

He’s a stayer so if a scratch allows him to meet the starter in the Kentucky Derby he’ll likely get the distance…eventually. He has been working well of late but he’s been a solid work horse all winter.

CONS

He’s a slow, plodding type whose style leaves him with a lot of work to do and that style doesn’t fit the bill in a big field such as this one at all.

22) RATTLE N ROLL (30-1)

Editor's Note: Rattle N Roll, the other also-eligible horse, was scratched on Friday morning as well.

Jockey: James Graham (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)
Trainer: Ken McPeek (Kentucky Derby Wins: 0)

PROS

He was a Grade 1 stakes winner going long as a 2 year-old.

CONS

He will start from a poor post if scratches do allow him in and he hasn’t progressed much since the end of his juvenile campaign. He’s been handily defeated of late by a bunch of the foes who he’ll face here.

IF I'M RIGHT...

10 – ZANDON breaks better that he has in his recent starts and positions himself to make his late run count, taking the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby. 3 – EPICENTER is right up with the leaders from the outset but isn’t able to hold off the winner’s stretch kick. 5 – SMILE HAPPY benefits greatly from his second start of the year in the Blue Grass and outruns his price to finish third over lightly raced 12- TAIBA.

SUGGESTED PLAYS...

  • EXACTA 10 over 3, 5, 12
  • TRIFECTA BOX 3, 5, 10, 12

IF ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE...

6 – MESSIER moves forward off the late dusting he received at the hands of today’s contender 12 – TAIBA in the Santa Anita Derby and keeps on going as long shots 4 – SUMMER IS TOMORROW, 18 – TAWNY PORT and 20 -ETHEREAL ROAD get involved for minor shares of the purse. If any of them win or even hit the board, I will lose.

Betting on the Kentucky Derby

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