Kentucky Derby 2022: Odds, Dark-Horse Contenders and Predictions After Post Draw

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIMay 4, 2022

Kentucky Derby 2022: Odds, Dark-Horse Contenders and Predictions After Post Draw

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    The 2022 Kentucky Derby is quickly approaching. The field is set, the post positions have been drawn and bettors are trying to figure out which colts are the best to put money on for Saturday's race.

    The winning colt in the 148th Run for the Roses will then go on to try to complete the illustrious Triple Crown, with the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes on the horizon soon after.

    It could be one of the favorites or a long shot that ends up in the winner's circle at Churchill Downs in Louisville. Anything can happen during the 1.25-mile race that is aptly nicknamed The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.

    Here are the post positions and odds for this year's Derby, followed by some under-the-radar contenders to keep an eye on and predictions for how the race will unfold.

Post Positions, Odds

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    1. Mo Donegal (10-1)

    2. Happy Jack (30-1)

    3. Epicenter (7-2)

    4. Summer Is Tomorrow (30-1)

    5. Smile Happy (20-1)

    6. Messier (8-1)

    7. Crown Pride (20-1)

    8. Charge It (20-1)

    9. Tiz the Bomb (30-1)

    10. Zandon (3-1)

    11. Pioneer of Medina (30-1)

    12. Taiba (12-1)

    13. Simplification (20-1)

    14. Barber Road (30-1)

    15. White Abarrio (10-1)

    16. Cyberknife (20-1)

    17. Classic Causeway (30-1)

    18. Tawny Port (30-1)

    19. Zozos (20-1)

    20. Ethereal Road (30-1)


    Lines via

Dark-Horse Contenders

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Mo Donegal (10-1)

    Although Mo Donegal has decent odds, he is a bit below the top tier of Zandon, Epicenter and Messier. But don't count out the colt, one of three horses trained by Todd Pletcher in this year's Derby field and the one with the best odds among that group.

    Not only is Mo Donegal coming off a win at April's Wood Memorial Stakes, but he also beat Derby favorite Zandon in the Grade II Remsen in December. Perhaps Mo Donegal could become the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby from the No. 1 post since Ferdinand in 1986.


    Taiba (12-1)

    This is the most experience horse in the field, as Taiba has only competed in two races. However, the colt won each of those events, including April's Santa Anita Derby, where he edged Messier for the victory.

    Taiba may not have much racing history, but his jockey does. Mike Smith will be riding the colt in the Derby and is looking to win the race for the third time. Never count out Smith, who rode Justify to the Triple Crown in 2018.


    Zozos (20-1)

    Zozos is a long shot to win, but the colt was triumphant in each of his first three races before finishing second to Epicenter in the Louisiana Derby in March. A Brad Cox-trained horse, Zozos could outperform his odds at the Kentucky Derby and end up near the front of the field.

    The one factor that could hurt Zozos is his starting position: the No. 19 post. But if he can get to the front early, he could be set up for a surprise performance.

Race Predictions

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Prior to the post-position draw, Epicenter had the best odds to win the Derby. But after he ended up in the No. 3 post, the lines shifted and Zandon became the new betting favorite. However, Epicenter still has a strong chance to win The Run for the Roses.

    Epicenter has won four of his past five races and finished second in the other, and he's gone up against some strong competition. And trainer Steve Asmussen has been impressed with the colt since he arrived at Churchill Downs.

    "He's best described as a slinky—just extremely fluid and a great mover," Asmussen said, per Paulick Report. "I'll be surprised if he gets beat."

    Asmussen has entered plenty of strong horses in the Kentucky Derby over the years. Yet he's never won the event, even though he's had 23 chances to do so.

    But thanks to Epicenter, this should be the year Asmussen wins. Zandon will be tough competition, and Mo Donegal could be set for a solid showing. But Epicenter is capable of beating both those colts, as well as the rest of the field.

    So while it should be a competitive race early, expect Epicenter to pull away. And by the time he gets to the final stretch, he will be alone when crossing the finish line.

    Predictions: 1. Epicenter; 2. Mo Donegal; 3. Zandon