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2022 Kentucky Derby Predictions and Odds

Horse racing’s run for the Triple Crown starts Saturday with the 148th Kentucky Derby. The field of 20 of the best three-year-olds has been prepping for this race since last September with a deserving favorite emerging. Epicenter accumulated the most points by a wide margin in the Kentucky Derby point standings winning each of his last five starts, but this might be the closest field in terms of odds in some time.

Four horses are listed with shorter than 10/1 odds while half the field has odds shorter than 20/1. There was a stretch between 2013 and 2018 where the betting favorite won every race. That changed in 2019 when Country House at 65/1 became the second biggest underdog to win the Run for the Roses and we haven’t seen the favorite win since. Epicenter isn’t used to losing, but there are a number of horses with the talent and bloodlines to take the blanket of roses on Saturday.

2022 Kentucky Derby Date & Time

The 2022 Kentucky Derby takes place on Sunday, May 7, from Churchill Downs in Lexington, KY. Post time is 6:57 p.m. ET. The race will air live on NBC.

2022 Kentucky Derby Odds

Epicenter +426

Zandon +527

Messier +830

Taiba +925

White Abarrio +1024

Mo Donegal +1228

Charge It +1416

Smile Happy +1636

Crown Pride +1841

Cyberknife +1841

Classic Causeway +2602

Simplification +3061

Tiz The Bomb +3122

Zozos +3122

Barber Road +3122

Pioneer of Medina +4050

Tawny Port +4050

Ethereal Road +4050

Summer is Tomorrow +6050

Happy Jack +6050

(Odds provided by as of May 4, 2022)

Odds Analysis

What makes the Kentucky Derby so exciting from a betting standpoint is the unpredictable nature of the field. At 3-years-old the horses aren’t quite mature enough to run with older competition, thus a category all for themselves. And while oddsmakers and handicappers are usually spot on with their assessment they aren’t always right. There was that six-year run of betting favorites taking the title, but we’ve also seen some major upsets.

We saw one of the longest shots claim victory in 2019, though 65/1 Country House wasn’t the first to cross the finish line. He was awarded the roses after second favorite Maximum Security was disqualified for interference. There have been instances of extreme longshots winning the Kentucky Derby. In 2009 Mine That Bird came off at 50/1. There was another monumental upset in 2005 when Giacomo at 50/1 won by half a length over Closing Argument, who closed with 70/1 odds. The moral of the story is that anything can and oftentimes does happen.

We have to start with the favorite and Epicenter checks all the boxes. With four wins in his last five races he cruised past Derby hopefuls Zozos and Pioneer of Medina in the Louisiana Derby at the end of March. And the winner of that race has gone on to have success in the Kentucky Derby. He also closed with the most points by a wide margin in the prep standings with one of his wins coming at the longest distance of any prep race.

The Kentucky Derby is a test of endurance. No horse in the field has ever run this distance and training doesn’t properly get him acclimated to the 1 1/4 mile spread. Mo Donegal is one colt that has the running style to be successful at this distance as long as he doesn’t get bogged down out of the gate. And that’s certainly a possibility with 20 horses looking to find their spot. His win at the Wood Memorial showed he’s one of the top closers in the field.

With the field top-heavy I don’t see any horse below the top six favorites emerging victorious. But among that half dozen you could take your pick. Messier has the right combination of speed, stamina and experience, but he was tracked down and passed by stablemate Taiba in the G1 Santa Anita Derby. And speaking of Taiba there’s no question the talent is there. He impressively won the Santa Anita Derby off a maiden sprint, but that’s it as far as races go. And it’s been over 100 years since a horse won the Derby is just his third start.

Sitting just outside the top-six is Charge It, who ranks as my longshot pick. The son of Tapit has progressed quickly with his lack of experience being a negative. He has just three races on his resume most recently a runner-up at the G1 Florida Derby where he was the best in the field. He should continue to improve and that run last month should help him realize he’s a good race horse.

Kentucky Derby Finish: 1) Epicenter 2) Taiba 3) Mo Donegal

Kentucky Derby Prediction

It’s a cliché to back the favorite but it makes sense in this race. While the odds may suggest differently Epicenter is the class of the field and he already has a win over second favorite Zandon. While he hasn’t run Derby distance yet neither has anyone else in the field and Epicenter has a win at the 1 3/16 miles Louisiana Derby. While I tried to justify other horses in the field coming out with a victory I just couldn’t, so I’m backing Epicenter to survive.

Kentucky Derby Finish: 1) Epicenter 2) Taiba 3) Mo Donegal

View today’s 2022 Kentucky Derby betting odds.

Ken Henson
Ken Henson
Ken covers horse racing, soccer, tennis and golf for

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