Kentucky Derby Picks 2022: Predictions and Odds for All Horses Before 148th Race

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMay 7, 2022

Thoroughbred racehorses run during the Kentucky Oaks race ahead of the 148th running of The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., on Friday, May 6, 2022. The Kentucky Derby will return on Saturday with a capacity crowd at Churchill Downs for the first time since 2019. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Bloomberg/Getty Images

The 2022 Kentucky Derby field does not have an overwhelming favorite. 

As of Saturday, five horses were listed below 10-1 on the morning line. 

Epicenter and Zandon have had low odds all week, while Taiba, Messier and Mo Donegal have dropped in the last few days. 

Each of the five horses could stake a claim to being the main favorite when the gates drop at Churchill Downs. 

There is always a chance that a long shot surprises the field, but the quality of the top horses may make an upset even less likely than usual. 


Kentucky Derby Odds

1. Mo Donegal (8-1)

2. Happy Jack (21-1)

3. Epicenter (5-1)

4. Summer is Tomorrow (42-1)

5. Smile Happy (14-1)

6. Messier (7-1)

7. Crown Pride (17-1)

8. Charge It (13-1)

9. Tiz the Bomb (25-1)

10. Zandon (8-1)

11. Pioneer of Medina (47-1)

12. Taiba (5-1)

13. Simplification (40-1)

14. Barber Road (40-1)

15. White Abarrio (11-1)

16. Cyberknife (14-1)

17. Classic Causeway (67-1)

18. Tawny Port (67-1)

19. Zozos (39-1)

20. Rich Strike (99-1) 



None of the five horses favorites were placed directly next to each other on the starting lineup. 

Mo Donegal, who comes into Kentucky off a victory at the Wood Memorial on April 9, drew the inside lane and could get out fast along the rail. He has two wins and a third-place finish in his last three starts.

Meanwhile, Epicenter owns four victories in his last five starts. He won the Louisiana Derby on March 26, so he has some extra rest compared to the other favorites, and his triumphs at various lengths could help him settle in. 

Only one horse separates Epicenter and Mo Donegal, so that battle for the inside rail could be a key factor in the race. 

Messier might have the best starting conditions of the favored quintet. The two horses to his left and right all have odds above 13-1. 

Messier has one win and two second-place finishes on his resume since December. He took second at the Santa Anita Derby on April 9 behind Taiba, who has the least experience of the favored horses but looked strong at Santa Anita and could be a factor right off the bat with his speed. 

Zandon starts in the middle of the pack from Post 10. He won the Blue Grass Stakes on April 9 and has three consecutive top-three finishes on his resume. 

At least a few, or all, of those horses should be contention for first place during the final few lengths of the race. 

Crown Pride is likely the best long shot to back. The Japanese-trained horse won the UAE Derby and will try to end the poor trend of UAE Derby participants at Churchill Downs. No horse that competed in the UAE Derby has ever finished in the top three at the Kentucky Derby.

Crown Pride has worked out at Churchill Downs for a few weeks and he has a decent starting position next to Messier. 

A case could be made for any top horse, but look for Taiba to feel comfortable from the start with some potential pace-setters around him. Taiba could use his speed to power past weaker horses and into the lead while other favorites have to go head-to-head with contenders out of the gate. 



1. Taiba

2. Mo Donegal

3. Crown Pride

4. Epicenter

5. Messier

6. Zandon

7. Cyberknife

8. White Abarrio

9. Smile Happy

10. Happy Jack

11. Pioneer of Medina

12. Simplification

13. Barber Road

14. Zozos

15. Summer of Tomorrow

16. Charge It

17. Tiz the Bomb

18. Classic Causeway

19. Tawny Port

20. Rich Strike