Sunday, May 22, 2022

Kentucky Derby odds, picks, field 2022: Zandon, Epicenter predictions by same expert who called Medina Spirit

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas will start his 50th horse in the Run for the Roses when he saddles long shot Ethereal Road in the 2022 Kentucky Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs. With 49 starters, the 86-year-old Lukas trails only Todd Pletcher (59) for the most Kentucky Derby horses all-time among trainers. Lukas has won the race four times, which is tied for third-most. This year, Lukas’ Ethereal Road is a 30-1 long shot in the 2022 Kentucky Derby odds. The Chad Brown-trained Zandon is the 3-1 morning-line favorite in the 20-horse 2022 Kentucky Derby field, while Epicenter is 7-2. They are followed by Messier (8-1), Mo Donegal and White Abarrio (both 10-1), and Taiba (12-1). The 2022 Kentucky Derby post time is 6:57 p.m. ET. Before you make any Kentucky Derby 2022 predictions, you’ll want to see what astute racing reporter and analyst Michelle Yu’s 2022 Kentucky Derby picks and analysis.

Few people in racing are as connected as Yu. An on-air host and reporter who has provided racing analysis for TVG, HRTV and the Breeders’ Cup, Yu has spent a lifetime in racing. Prior to her television career, she worked for trainers Steve Asmussen and Ron Moquett. She also is married to Santa Anita-based trainer Ryan Hanson.

She also has tremendous handicapping chops. In the 2011 Kentucky Derby, she correctly tabbed Animal Kingdom to win at a hefty 21-1. In the 2017 Breeders’ Cup, she nailed 11-1 long shot Wuheida to win the Filly and Mare Turf. Last year in a wide-open Kentucky Derby, she gave out Medina Spirit, who crossed the finish line first, as the winner at 12-1.

Since joining SportsLine in November, her picks have cashed in six of 12 races, including the exacta in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Anyone who has followed her is way up.

Now, Yu has handicapped the 2022 Kentucky Derby odds, made her picks and constructed her bets. Click here to see them.

Top 2022 Kentucky Derby predictions, expert analysis

One surprise: Yu is fading Messier, even though he is one of the top 2022 Kentucky Derby favorites at 8-1. In fact, Yu says Messier barely cracks the top 10. Formerly trained by Bob Baffert and now trained by Tim Yakteen, Messier has never finished worse than second in six career starts. He is coming off a runner-up finish to stablemate Taiba in the Santa Anita Derby.

In that race, Messier conceded to Taiba at a shorter distance (1 1/8 miles), and Yu doesn’t see how he can turn the tables on Taiba at the 2022 Kentucky Derby distance of 1 1/4 miles. “I am still not convinced that he is a horse who wants a ton of ground, and I think his good efforts have been made to look better because of whom he was facing,” Yu told SportsLine.

Yu has locked in her 2022 Kentucky Derby picks for Epicenter, the second favorite at 7-2. Epicenter will be jockeyed by Joel Rosario, who won the 2013 Kentucky Derby with Orb and finished 2021 as the top-earning jockey in North America.

Fans and media had a chance to see Epicenter in action in a workout last Sunday, when he ran a six-furlong session at 1.12.20. While that certainly isn’t as fast of a pre-Derby workout time that some other horses have turned in, Epicenter’s believers say the eye test still favors his form. Many expect this year’s Kentucky Derby will be run at a slower pace, so the winner is likely the one that runs with power rather than top-end speed.

Yu also has a strong read on Zandon, the top favorite in the latest Kentucky Derby odds 2022 at 3-1. Trained by Chad Brown, Zandon has two wins, one second and one third in four career starts. Two starts ago, he finished a troubled third in the Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

However, Zandon rebounded from that loss with a victory in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. In that race, he was shuffled back to last before unleashing an explosive turn off foot and running by all his rivals, including the favored Smile Happy. “His Blue Grass victory was very impressive, and that closing kick is a dangerous weapon,” Yu told SportsLine.

How to make 2022 Kentucky Derby picks, bets

Yu’s top pick is an overlooked horse who has the “speed to press and has top connections.” Yu is also high on an enormous long shot who is her “must-use-in-exotics horse.” She said this colt “has shown race after race that he belongs in the Kentucky Derby.” She is including these horses in her 2022 Kentucky Derby bets, and so should you. She’s sharing which horses to back only at SportsLine.

Where do Messier, Taiba and Epicenter, and every other horse finish in the 2022 Kentucky Derby? And which enormous long shot is a must-back? Check out the Kentucky Derby odds 2022 below, then visit SportsLine to see Yu’s picks for the Kentucky Derby, all from the expert who nailed last year’s winner on Derby Day.

2022 Kentucky Derby odds, horses, post draw

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