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2022 Kentucky Derby Tips - Free guide and tips for Churchill Downs

jon-vine
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Last updated: 05 May 2022
Jon Vine 05 May 2022
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  • Betting tips for the 2022 Kentucky Derby
  • This famous Classic will take place at Churchill Downs on May 7th
  • Read the latest odds, the full draw and our tips 
  • Zandon and Simplification are our Kentucky Derby tips
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2021 kentucky derby
The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. (Getty)

Race number 12 at Churchill Downs this Saturday is one of the biggest thoroughbred races in the world, the Kentucky Derby. This historic Classic was first staged almost 150 years ago and a fantastic purse of $3m has been put up for grabs ahead of the 2022 renewal.

We've taken a look through the odds, the key entries and the draw, before providing readers with our best Kentucky Derby betting tips.

2022 Kentucky Derby Guide - Odds, Draw and Tips


Odds


Name
Odds
Epicentre7/2
Zandon9/2
Taiba6/1
Messier8/1
Charge It11/1
Mo Donegal11/1
Bar14/1

*Odds taken on 5/5/22*

Derby Field

Both Classic Causeway and Summer Is Tomorrow know only one way of running, and that's to go hard and fast from the get-go. Summer Is Tomorrow had no real excuse for his defeat in the UAE Derby and Classic Causeway was beaten at the halfway stage in Florida Derby. I can't see either being good enough to sustain their challenge.

Epicentre will be looking to hand Steve Asmussen his first win in the Kentucky Derby. He's been sitting prominently in the betting throughout the season and comes into this on the back of two Grade Two wins. 

Joel Rosario's mount enjoyed a fairly easy time of things in both of those races and his only loss came in the Lecomte Stakes, where the early pace was extremely quick. The pacesetters here are bound to ensure this race is run at a frenetic pace, and Epicentre's stamina is slightly questionable.

Taiba entered the Santa Anita Derby on his second career start, and looked good when handing Messier a two-length beating. Charge It was having just his third outing when second to White Abarrio in the Florida Derby, where Todd Pletcher's charge looked extremely green and inexperienced. 

Both have stacks of ability and will improve as the year goes on. I just worry that a lack of experience may catch them out on this occasion.

Messier had no answer to Taiba when they met in the Santa Anita Derby and I'm finding it hard to make a case for Tim Yakteen's recruit - transferred over from the banished Bob Baffert at the start of the season - on the back of that run. Mo Donegal clearly has the ability to make an impact in the Kentucky Derby, but Pletcher's closer will need everything to go his way from stall one, from which a good early position is far from guaranteed.

Despite a good victory over Charge It in the Florida Derby, I'm not convinced that White Abarrio really wants to be going a mile-and-a-quarter. Cyberknife is improving with each of his starts, but you have to question the quality of the Arkansas Derby that he won last time out, where Barber Road and the filly, Secret Oath finished just behind him.

Kenny McPeek said Tiz The Bomb hated dirt when he tried it in the Holy Bull, so it's quite a surprise to see him turn up here. Smile Happy has so far failed to build on the promise he showed as a juvenile and, although Japanese horses have been dominant around the flat racing world over the last ten months, I'd be surprised if Crown Pride was able to mount a challenge, based on that UAE Derby victory.

Draw


Stall
Name
1 Mo Donegal
2 Happy Jack
3 Epicenter
4 Summer Is Tomorrow
5 Smile Happy
6 Messier
7 Crown Pride
8 Charge It
9 Tiz The Bomb
10 Zandon
11 Pioneer Medina
12 Taiba
13 Simplification
14 Barber Road
15 White Abarrio
16 Cyberknife
17 Classic Causeway
18 Tawny Port
19 Zazos
20 Ethereal Road
R1 Rich Strike
R2 Rattle N Roll

zandon
Zandon runs on the track during the morning training for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on April 29, 2022 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Getty)

Kentucky Derby Tip 1 - Zandon

A Kentucky Derby win is one of the few accolades missing from Chad Brown's CV, but I think his sole entrant, ZANDON travels to Churchill Downs with leading claims.

Zandon ran twice towards the end of 2021, losing out to Mo Donegal by just a nose in the Remsen Stakes back in December. On his three-year-old return in the Risen Star, Brown's charge was beaten by Epicentre. Zandon was the slowest away that day and, considering he was forced widest of all rounding the bend as he tried to challenge from the rear, he did well to eventually finish third.

Flavien Prat's mount broke much better in the Blue Grass Stakes, but was still held up for much of the race. Turning for home, Zandon still had plenty of work to do, but found an extra gear in the final few furlongs and ran out a convincing winner.

Zandon is a Group One winner, who remains firmly on the upgrade. His draw in stall ten is ideal and Flavien Pratt - who was awarded the 2019 Kentucky Derby on Country House after Maximum Security was disqualified - will fancy his chances.

Kentucky Derby Tip 2 - Simplification

Given the size of the field and how open this race looks on paper, there's plenty of value to be found betting in the place market. The runner who stands out for me at a bigger price is SIMPLIFICATION, who was the beaten favourite in the Florida Derby last time out.

Despite coming from off the pace to win the Fountain Of Youth Stakes in excellent style, Jose Ortiz tried to keep tabs on the front-running Classic Causeway early in the Florida Derby. The leader set an unsustainable pace that day and fell away badly, so for Simplification to keep on and finish just two lengths adrift of White Abarrio was some effort.

Since a fifth-place finish on debut, Simplification has failed to finish outside the top three places in any of his six starts. Antonio Sano's three-year-old is as hardy and consistent as they come, and the rain that's due to hit the track ahead of Saturday's main event will do his chances no harm at all.

simplification
Simplification during the morning training for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 02. (Getty)

Verdict

Zandon is our best bet in the 2022 Kentucky Derby. We've also backed Simplification at an each way price.

2022 Kentucky Derby Best Bet: Zandon Straight Win @9/2 at bet365 - 15 Units
2022 Kentucky Derby Value Bet: Simplification Each-Way @25/1 at Hollywood bets - 5 Units
Zandon
Straight Win
@9/2 - 15 Units
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Each-Way
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