Kentucky Derby Entries 2022: Race-Day Predictions for Horses, Jockeys in Lineup

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2022

Kentucky Derby Entries 2022: Race-Day Predictions for Horses, Jockeys in Lineup

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    The 148th Kentucky Derby is set to take place on Saturday evening from Churchill Downs in Louisville, with a 20-horse field vying for the first gem in the Triple Crown. 

    The first Saturday in May means a fresh group of colts with dreams of winning the Triple Crown will enter the legendary racetrack. Only one will emerge with a chance to take the trio of American Classics. 

    Just who that colt will be is pretty tough to pick this year. There are five horses at single-digit odds and two horses, Epicenter and Taiba, that have shared the distinction of being the favorite during race week. 

    Below, we'll give you the complete lineup along with a prediction as to which horse-jockey pairings will win, place and show in the 2022 Run for the Roses. 

Kentucky Derby 2022 Entries, Post Positions and Odds

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    1. Mo Donegal (7-1)

    2. Happy Jack (22-1)

    3. Epicenter (5-1)

    4. Summer is Tomorrow (46-1)

    5. Smile Happy (14-1)

    6. Messier (7-1)

    7. Crown Pride (16-1)

    8. Charge It (12-1)

    9. Tiz the Bomb (25-1)

    10. Zandon (8-1)

    11. Pioneer of Medina (58-1)

    12. Taiba (5-1)

    13. Simplification (44-1)

    14. Barber Road (40-1)

    15. White Abarrio (10-1)

    16. Cyberknife (15-1)

    17. Classic Causeway (71-1)

    18. Tawny Port (69-1)

    19. Zozos (38-1)

    20. Rich Strike (99-1)

Win: Taiba, Mike Smith

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    There's a lot to like about Taiba, and bettors have taken notice. The Tim Yakteen-trainee had just 12-1 odds after the post draw but has risen all the way to the favorite on race day. 

    The biggest drawback to Taiba is his inexperience. The colt has only been raced twice in his career. However, those two outings were incredibly impressive. He showcased his tactical speed and running style with a win in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in just his second start. 

    That's a horse with star potential. 

    The only question is whether he'll be ready for a 20-horse field that draws the kind of talent he'll see in Louisville. 

    He'll have to get a clean break out of the gates from the No. 12 post. At the Santa Anita Derby, he stalked the pace and was able to outrun the field down the final stretch. That's going to require a strong trip from jockey Mike Smith, but it's easy to believe in the horse. 

Place: Zandon, Flavien Prat

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    This could be the year of the inexperienced colt. 

    Zandon has only been raced twice as a three-year-old, although he did have four starts as a two-year-old. 

    The Chad Brown-trained colt put in his best performance to date last time out. He won the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland by overtaking fellow Derby entrant Smile Happy.

    It can be difficult for a closer like Zandon to perform at the Derby. With the larger field, it's easy to get boxed in, creating a difficult path to contention by the end of the race. 

    With Flavien Prat aboard the colt, that's less of a concern. The jockey won the Derby aboard Country House in 2019 and finished in the top three with Hot Rod Charlie last year. 

    Prat is a good jockey to get the most out of Zandon and the horse's ability to finish the race strong. 

Show: Epicenter, Joel Rosario

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    Epicenter is obviously going to be a popular pick to win this year's race, but this is a good time to remember that Essential Quality finished third as a 2-1 favorite in 2021. 

    The Derby is a tough race to win and a difficult one to predict. While Epicenter is favored to win, he isn't a must-pick favorite. 

    He's talented, though. His Louisiana Derby victory bodes well for his chances at Churchill Downs, but it's fair to wonder if he's as fast as some of the others in the field. While he's been in great form lately, he did finish third in the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes. 

    Epicenter feels like a lock to finish in the top three of the race. The Steve Asmussen-trained colt has been remarkably consistent. He's one of the most talented horses in the field and could be a threat in the other American Classics as well. 

    However, the little bit of upside that Taiba and Zandon have shown gets the nod in these picks.