Friday, May 27, 2022

2022 Kentucky Derby contenders, odds, draw: Legendary expert who nailed Triple Crown races unveils picks

Trainer Steve Asmussen can finally break through with his first Kentucky Derby victory when he saddles Louisiana Derby winner Epicenter in the 2022 Kentucky Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs. North America’s all-time winningest trainer with 9,727 career victories, Asmussen is winless with 23 Kentucky Derby horses, the most starters for a trainer without a victory. On Saturday, he’ll send out Epicenter, the 5-1 co-favorite in the live 2022 Kentucky Derby odds. Zandon, who is trained by Chad Brown, another trainer without a Kentucky Derby win, was 3-1 morning-line favorite in the 2022 Kentucky Derby field, but is now 8-1. Post time is 6:57 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 7, the 2022 Kentucky Derby date. Before making any 2022 Kentucky Derby picks, you need to see what legendary handicapper Hammerin’ Hank Goldberg is saying.

The former horse racing analyst for ESPN and NBC, Goldberg became a legendary handicapper by going straight to the source. In 2004, he had dinner before the Belmont Stakes with trainer Nick Zito at a pizzeria in Queens. The dinner led Goldberg to play Zito’s 36-1 monster long shot Birdstone to win and on top of his exacta, trifecta and superfecta bets. When Birdstone shocked the world, Goldberg won $24,000.

His success has continued at SportsLine. In the San Felipe Stakes in March 2020, Hammer gave out a $20 exacta that paid 9-1. In the 2020 Belmont Stakes, Goldberg was all over Tiz the Law, who scored a convincing victory in the year’s first Triple Crown race. Hammer also nailed the exacta in the Blue Grass Stakes, Haskell Stakes and Pacific Classic that year.

And last year he hit the Essential Quality-Hot Rod Charlie exacta in the Belmont Stakes. Now, Goldberg has studied the 2022 Kentucky Derby horses and released his picks and analysis only at SportsLine.

Top 2022 Kentucky Derby predictions, best bets

One surprise: Goldberg is completely tossing Zandon, even though he is the morning-line favorite at 8-1. Bred by former Kentucky Governor Brereton C. Jones, Zandon is coming off one of the strongest performances in the 2022 Kentucky Derby prep races. In the Blue Grass Stakes, he was 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 morning-line favorite.

But because of his come-from-behind running style, Zandon is dependent on a clean trip. That’s always risky in a 20-horse field. At 3-1 on the morning line, Hammer doesn’t believe Zandon provides value, so he’s not using him in any 2022 Kentucky Derby picks.

Another shocker: Hammer is high on 14-1 long shot Smile Happy. Trained by Ken McPeek, Smile Happy has never finished worse than second in four career starts (two wins, two seconds). In his last start, he ran second to Zandon in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 9.

Hammer believes Smile Happy’s No. 5 post will allow him to save ground, something he couldn’t do when losing to Zandon in the Blue Grass. “Trainer Ken McPeek called me and said that Smile Happy gives him his best chance to win the Kentucky Derby,” Hammer told SportsLine. “McPeek likes this horse a lot.” Goldberg is using Smile Happy prominently in his 2022 Kentucky Derby bets.

How to make 2022 Kentucky Derby picks, bets

Hammer’s top choice is a horse who can “save ground from his post position.” He also is high on a big double-digit long shot who “has the speed to avoid a lot of trouble.” Goldberg is including these horses in his 2022 Kentucky Derby bets, and so should you. He’s sharing his predictions for the top 2022 Kentucky Derby contenders here.

Who wins the 2022 Kentucky Derby? What big double-digit long shot is a must-back? And how has Goldberg constructed his wagers? Check out the latest 2022 Kentucky Derby odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Goldberg’s picks for the 2022 Kentucky Derby, all from the legendary expert who has nailed Triple Crown races.

2022 Kentucky Derby odds, horses, post draw

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