Expert Predictions on Who Will Win the Kentucky Derby

The 2022 Kentucky Derby is set to get underway on Saturday, May 7th at Churchill Downs. This is a Grade 1 stakes race for three-year-old thoroughbreds, and it’s held annually in Louisville, Kentucky. This is a 1 1/4-mile race that is known in the United States as “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” as well as the “Run for the Roses”.

It is the first leg of the Triple Crown, which is followed by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. The Kentucky Derby has been run every year since 1875, making this the 148th running. The attendance at the event ranks first in North America and surpasses that of all the other stakes races, including the Breeders’ Cup.

Because of its popularity, the Kentucky Derby draws millions of fans and bettors around the world. I’m going to take a look at the wagering side of it and go through and give my predictions for this year’s race. I will give my Win, Place and Show picks for the horses to finish in 1st, 2nd and 3rd.  I will also give my exotic bets.

Note – I have picked three of the past 10 Kentucky Derby Winners with American Pharaoh (5/2) in 2015, Orb (7/2) in 2013, and I’ll Have Another (12/1) in 2012 with my ‘Win’ selections.  

In 2017, I had Always Dreaming picked to finish 2nd and he won, so we cashed our place wager.  I also noted that I may regret not picking him to win.

In 2018, I hit the Exacta AND the Trifecta with Justify, Good Magic and Audible finishing in 1st, 2nd and 3rd.  I had a 6-7-11 Exacta Box and a 5-6-7-11 Trifecta Box.  A $2 Exacta Box cost $12 and paid $69.60, and a $2 Trifecta Box cost $24 and paid back $282.80.

2022 Kentucky Derby Betting: Win, Place, Show and Exotic Picks

Win: #8 Charge It (12/1)

Charge It is by Tapit out of I’ll Take Charge, so he has the bloodlines and a great trainer in Todd Pletcher to win the Kentucky Derby.  Pletcher entered Charge It into the Grade 1 Curlin Florida Derby after an 8 1/2-length romp on February 12th.

Charge It stalked the pace and angled out under Luis Saez for a closing rally, and the poor trip probably cost him the win as he finished second behind Holy Bull winner White Abarrio.  I am high on White Abarrio in this race, and I think Charge It has the room for improvement and the bloodlines to get the Kentucky Derby distance.

Not only is he by Tapit out of I’ll Take Charge, but his second dam is $2.4 million earner Take Charge Lady, who has multiple Grade 1 wins and produced Grade 1 winner Will Take Charge, Grade 1 Florida Derby winner Take Charge Indy, and Grade 1 winner As Time Goes By.  Grade 1 winner and champion Take Charge Brandi and Grade 1 winner Omaha Beach are other close relatives.  He has a 103 Equibase Speed Figure.

Place: #10 Zandon (8/1)

Zandon has hit the board in all four career races with two wins.  He broke his maiden at Belmont Park in a six-furlong race.  He stretched out to 1 1/8 miles at the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes and finished second behind Mo Donegal.  He recovered from an awkward break to finish 3rd in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes in his debut as a 3-year-old.

In his final prep race for the Kentucky Derby, Zandon entered the $1 Million Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.  He closed powerfully to get past Smile Happy in deep stretch.  He finished the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50:35 on a muddy track.  He has a 107 Equibase Speed Figure and will be a factor on Saturday.

Show: #3 Epicenter (5/1)

Epicenter has four wins in six career starts with five straight Top 2 finishes coming into the Kentucky Derby.  He drew away by 6 1/2 lengths in the Gun Runner Stakes at Fair Grounds.  He went on of finish 2nd in the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes.

Epicenter bounced back in the Grade 2 Rise Star Stakes by setting the early pace and keeping the lead this time, finishing 2 3/4 lengths in front.  The Grade 2 Louisiana Derby was his final prep on March 26.  He changed tactics and stalked the early pace and it worked like a charm as he won by 2 1/2 lengths.  His versatility makes him a legitimate contender to win the Kentucky Derby.

4th: #12 Taiba (5/1)

Expectations have been high for Taiba ever since he was purchased for $1.7 million as the son of 2017 Horse of the Year, Gun Runner.  He has not disappointed.  Taiba broke his maiden at Santa Anita Park with a 7 1/2-length romp at six furlongs, covering it in 1:09:97.

Taiba made his graded stakes debut in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby on April 9th.  He stalked the pace and passed fellow Tim Yakteen trainee Messier in the stretch to pull clear for the victory.  Messier is getting a lot of love in the betting markets, but it’s Taiba with a 102 Equibase Speed Figure that I want invested in of the Yakteen trainees.

5th: #16 Cyberknife (15/1)

Cyberknife has three wins and two seconds in six career races.  He crossed the finish line in first in his maiden special weight race at Churchill Downs on September 25, 2021.  But he was disqualified for bumping a horse in the stretch.

It didn’t take long for him to break his maiden for good, winning at Fair Grounds on December 26th.  The Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes was not a good debut for him on January 22, but he came back with a three-length win on February 19th in an optional claiming race.

Cyberknife punched his ticked to the Kentucky Derby by winning the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby by 2 3/4 lengths on April 2nd.  He stalked the pace and took the lead on the final turn while holding off Secret Oath for the victory.  Like Taiba, he is by Gun Runner and has a 100 Equibase Speed Figure.

6th: #15 White Abarrio (10/1)

White Abarrio has four wins and one third in five career starts.  He started his career with two victories at Gulfstream Park by 4 and 6 3/4 lengths.  His stakes debut in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs did not go according to plan as he finished third, beaten by six lengths.

But it didn’t take long for White Abarrio to announce his presence as a Kentucky Derby contender as he won the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes on February 5, 2022 by 4 1/2 lengths.  He covered 1 1/6 miles in 1:42:80.

Instead of entering him in the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes, trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. trained him for the Grade 1 Florida Derby instead.  Despite battling a fever just days before the race, he recovered in time to beat a fast-charging Charge It by 1 1/4 lengths.  Watching Charge It finish as strong as he did is why I’m so high on him in the Kentucky Derby and picking him to beat White Abarrio this time around.

My Final 2022 Kentucky Derby Bets

Win, Place, Show Bet: $50 Across the Board on #8 (Costs $150)

Exacta Pick: $10 Exacta Key Box 8/3, 10, 12, 15, 16 (Costs $100)

Trifecta Pick: $2 Trifecta Key Box 8/3, 10, 12, 15, 16 (Costs $120)

Superfecta Pick: $.10 Superfecta Key Box 8/3, 10, 12, 15, 16 (Costs $24)

Note: A Key Box means I keyed the No. 8 horse Charge It.  That means you win your bet if Charge It comes in 1st or 2nd in the Exacta and also the 3, 10, 12, 15, 16 come in 1st or 2nd with him.  You will win your bet in the Trifecta if Charge It comes in 1st, 2nd or 3rd, and also two of 3, 10, 12, 15, 16 come in the top three with him.  You will win your Superfecta if Charge It comes in 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th and also 3, 10, 12, 15, 16 round out the top four places.

The wording for these exotic wagers at the betting window are as follows:

If you are new to the Kentucky Derby, then you might want to check out my betting guide for beginners.  This year’s complete odds are listed below.

Odds to Win the 2022 Kentucky Derby

Horse Odds
1. Mo Donegal 7/1
2. Happy Jack 23/1
3. Epicenter 5/1
4. Summer is Tomorrow 46/1
5. Smile Happy 14/1
6. Messier 7/1
7. Crown Pride 17/1
8. Charge It 12/1
9. Tiz the Bomb 25/1
10. Zandon 8/1
11. Pioneer of Medina 55/1
12. Taiba 5/1
13. Simplification 42/1
14. Barber Road 41/1
15. White Abarrio 10/1
16. Cyberknife 15/1
17. Classic Causeway 73/1
18. Tawny Port 71/1
19. Zozos 39/1
21. Rich Strike 99/1

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