The starting gate hasn’t even opened for the 2022 Kentucky Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs and the race already has had its first upset. After much speculation over the last four weeks centered around Louisiana Derby winner Epicenter being the favorite for the Run for the Roses, Blue Grass Stakes winner Zandon was instead named the 3-1 favorite in the 2022 Kentucky Derby odds by Churchill Downs linemaker Mike Battaglia. Epicenter is not far behind at 7-2 in the 20-horse 2022 Kentucky Derby field. They are followed by Messier (8-1), Mo Donegal (10-1), White Abarrio (10-1) and Taiba (12-1), making for plenty of options when crafting your 2022 Kentucky Derby betting guide. Post time for the 1 1/4-mile, $3 million Kentucky Derby 2022 is 6:57 p.m. ET. With a talented 20-horse field expected to enter the starting gate, you’ll want to see what racing insider and Beyer Speed Figure maker Bob Weir has to say before making any 2022 Kentucky Derby picks.
A Saratoga Springs-based racing insider and Beyer Speed Figure maker, Weir is a two-time qualifier for the prestigious National Horseplayers Championship in Las Vegas. He has produced multiple five-figure days at the track over the years, including a $60,000 Pick 6 at Del Mar in 2014. Last year, he was on fire. He hit the exacta in the Sam F. Davis Stakes, Tampa Bay Derby and Peter Pan Stakes, the trifecta in the Risen Star Stakes, Blue Grass Stakes and Pennsylvania Derby and the superfecta in the Belmont Stakes.
This year, he has been red-hot in the 2022 Kentucky Derby prep races, hitting the superfecta in the Blue Grass Stakes, the trifecta in the Louisiana Derby and the exacta in the Fountain of Youth Stakes and Tampa Bay Derby. He also has hit the trifecta in the Pegasus World Cup and multiple Pick 4s, among other scores. Now, he has handicapped the 2022 Kentucky Derby field, made his picks and constructed his bets. Click here to see them.
Top 2022 Kentucky Derby expert picks
One surprise: Weir is fading Zandon, even though he is the 3-1 Kentucky Derby favorite. The colt has two wins and a second- and third-place finish in four career starts, but he likes to come from off the pace, and this should be a different race for him. Weir says the 2022 Kentucky Derby pace is likely to start off at a faster tempo. That means the colt will need to work harder to keep up, which could nullify his strong closing kick. Zandon finished third in the Risen Star Stakes in the race before his Blue Grass Stakes success.
“I’m not convinced he’s the right favorite in this race based on what he’s done,” Weir told SportsLine. The expert also knows jockey Flavien Prat will guide Zandon from the No. 10 post, and there will plenty of traffic to negotiate in a 20-horse field. Prat won the 2019 Derby aboard 65-1 long shot Country House after Maximum Security was disqualified for impeding his competitors. The jockey has three wins in 27 starts at Churchill Downs and is more comfortable on turf after riding in France until 2015.
Another curveball: Weir is high on UAE Derby winner Crown Pride, even though he’s a 20-1 long shot. A son of Reach the Crown, Crown Pride is set to become just the second horse bred in Japan to compete in the Kentucky Derby. The first, Master Fencer, finished sixth in 2019.
Japan-based horses have excelled on the international stage recently, winning the country’s first two Breeders’ Cup races in November and five races during the Dubai World Cup, including the UAE Derby with Crown Pride. “Considering how Japanese horses have been running during recent international competitions, he’s hard to ignore,” Weir told SportsLine. Weir will be using Crown Pride prominently in his 2022 Kentucky Derby betting strategy.
How to make 2022 Kentucky Derby predictions, bets
Weir is all-in on a massive double-digit long shot who should be in “a dangerous position at the top of the stretch” and has a “big chance at a potentially great price.” Weir is including this horse in his 2022 Kentucky Derby bets, and so should you. He’s only sharing his 2022 Kentucky Derby cheat sheet and picks here.
Who wins the Kentucky Derby 2022? And which enormous double-digit long shot is a must-back? Check out the latest Kentucky Derby odds 2022 below, then visit SportsLine to see Weir’s picks for the Kentucky Derby, all from the expert who has nailed this year’s prep races.