Monday, May 23, 2022

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

White Abarrio, Charge It, Simplification and Classic Causeway will try to continue the success of Florida Derby runners in the Run for the Roses when the starting gate opens in the 2022 Kentucky Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs. None of the Kentucky Derby prep races has produced more winners of the Kentucky Derby than the Florida Derby with 24. The 2022 Kentucky Derby field features the top three finishers from the Florida Derby – White Abarrio (10-1), Charge It (20-1) and Simplification (20-1) – as well as 11th place finisher Classic Causeway (30-1). Zandon, who prepped for the Kentucky Derby 2022 by winning the Blue Grass Stakes, is the 3-1 favorite in the 2022 Kentucky Derby odds. 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. The three-year-old colt’s speed declined over his Kentucky Derby prep races, with his Beyer Speed Figure dipping from 103 at the Robert B. Lewis Stakes on February 6 to 99 at the Santa Anita Derby two months later.

The Santa Anita Derby was also Messier’s first race at 1 1/8 miles, and the added length resulted in the colt slowing down late and finishing runner-up to Kentucky Derby opponent Taiba. Yu believes the 1 1/4-mile track at Churchill Downs will cause Messier to slow down the stretch yet again despite being one of the 2022 Kentucky Derby favorites entering the race.

Yu has locked in her 2022 Kentucky Derby picks for Epicenter, the second favorite at 7-2. Named after an earthquake hit around the owner’s naming deadline, Epicenter has been beaten just twice in six career starts. In his last race, he showed a new dimension, rating off the pace in the Louisiana Derby before powering home for a 2 1/2-length win.

His four career victories have come by a combined 15-plus lengths. He has won his last two starts by more than five combined lengths. “If I have one knock on him, it would be that he hasn’t been challenged lately, and I like a horse with guts to throw down,” Yu says.

Yu also has a strong read on Zandon, the top favorite in the latest Kentucky Derby odds 2022 at 3-1. A $170,000 purchase two years ago, Zandon is coming off one of the strongest performances in a prep race this year. In the Blue Grass Stakes, he was unintentionally shuffled back to last before weaving through foes and winning by 2 1/2 lengths. That performance was the one that vaulted him over Epicenter as the 2022 Kentucky Derby favorite.

“His Blue Grass victory was very impressive, and that closing kick is a dangerous weapon,” Yu told SportsLine. With several horses on Saturday having more early speed than Zandon, he likely will have to weave through foes again if he hopes to win.

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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