Kentucky Derby 2022: Picks & Predictions.

Kentucky Derby 2022

Kentucky Derby Post Time: Saturday May 7, 2022 at 6:45 pm ET

The 148th Run for the Rose's takes place this Saturday as the 2022 Triple Crown kicks off from Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Last year saw Mandaloun and jockey Florent Geroux take the top prize. It was a race that was shrouded in some controversy after Medina Spirit crossed the finish line first, ahead of Mandaloun. Unfortunately for Medina Spirit and trainer Bob Baffert, the horse tested positive for betamethasone after the race. Medina Spirit was disqualified and the win was handed to Mandaloun instead. Baffert will be noticeably absent on Saturday as he serves a suspension that will prevent him from entering any horses until 2023. 

So while socialites and celebrities sip mint juleps during the race, the rest of us will be placing some bets. Let’s take a look at two of the best horses to bet on, and one long shot that could surprise us on Saturday.

Zandon 3-1

Zandon moved ahead of Epicenter when the positions for the race were released. Zandon sits in the lucrative 10th gate where the second-highest number of Derby winners since 1930 has started from.  It’s not just his starting position that has bettors excited about Zandon. He has a veteran jockey in Flavien Prat that won the Derby in 2019 and the Preakness Stakes last year with Rombauer. Zandon is a strong horse that has shown poise and strength. But where he excels most is his closing speed so as long as he does not expel energy during the first half of the race, Zandon should have an excellent chance at being amongst the leaders in the home stretch. 

Epicenter (7-2)

Don’t rule Epicenter out just because he has an unfavorable starting gate compared to Zandon. Epicenter was the odds on favorite entering the race and still deserves to be in the discussion. The colt has blown away his competition this year, winning four of his last five races and coming in second place in the other. Epicenter will also have one of the most experienced jockeys in the race in Joel Rosario. Ignore his sixteenth place finish at the derby last year. Rosario has a win at the 2013 Derby on his resume as well as a pair of victories at the Belmont Stakes. Trainer Steve Asmussen is hoping Epicenter is the one to finally bring him a Derby win. Asmussen has had a total of 23 horses in Derbys over the years but has never won the Run for the Roses. 

Cyberknife (20-1)

Starting from the 16th gate is Cyberknife, a popular dark horse candidate amongst the betting community. Why is this the case? Cyberknife performed well this year, particularly at the Arkansas Derby, where he took home the top spot. Another eason? His jockey is Florent Geroux who ended up winning the Derby last year with Mandaloun. Cyberknife has a comparable skillset to Mandaloun that can see him keep pace with the field and provide a final burst of energy in the home stretch. Geroux is looking to carry the momentum from the Arkansas Derby win to Churchill Downs, and make it back to back Kentucky Derby wins with a longshot horse. 

Charlie M.

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