Thursday, June 30, 2022

Kentucky Derby odds, picks, field 2022: Taiba, Epicenter predictions by expert who called Medina Spirit

The 2022 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 7 is rapidly approaching. Trainer Brad Cox has the most horses entering the 2022 Kentucky Derby field, with Zozos (20-1), Cyberknife (22-1) and Tawny Port (100-1) all competing in the Run for the Roses. A Louisville native, Cox is making just his second appearance in the Kentucky Derby lineup. Cox was credited with his first Kentucky Derby win last year when his horse, Mandaloun, was elevated after Medina Spirit was stripped of the win for testing positive for a banned substance. Epicenter remains the favorite in the 2022 Kentucky Derby odds at 5-1, with Taiba (6-1), Messier (6-1), Zandon (6-1) and Mo Donegal (8-1) coming in as other 2022 Kentucky Derby contenders. Before you make any Kentucky Derby 2022 predictions, you’ll want to see what astute racing reporter and analyst Michelle Yu’s 2022 Kentucky Derby picks and analysis.

Few people in racing are as connected as Yu. An on-air host and reporter who has provided racing analysis for TVG, HRTV and the Breeders’ Cup, Yu has spent a lifetime in racing. Prior to her television career, she worked for trainers Steve Asmussen and Ron Moquett. She also is married to Santa Anita-based trainer Ryan Hanson.

She also has tremendous handicapping chops. In the 2011 Kentucky Derby, she correctly tabbed Animal Kingdom to win at a hefty 21-1. In the 2017 Breeders’ Cup, she nailed 11-1 long shot Wuheida to win the Filly and Mare Turf. Last year in a wide-open Kentucky Derby, she gave out Medina Spirit, who crossed the finish line first, as the winner at 12-1.

Since joining SportsLine in November, her picks have cashed in six of 12 races, including the exacta in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Anyone who has followed her is way up.

Now, Yu has handicapped the 2022 Kentucky Derby odds, made her picks and constructed her bets. Click here to see them.

Top 2022 Kentucky Derby predictions, expert analysis

One surprise: Yu is fading Messier, even though he is one of the top 2022 Kentucky Derby favorites at 6-1. Having a Hall of Fame trainer in Steve Asmussen speaks well for the colt, as Asmussen’s horses have been first-place finishers 9,720 times during his career. Asmussen has had many horses compete in the Kentucky Derby, although Epicenter is his first horse to be a favorite ahead of the Run for the Roses.

However, Asmussen has never won a Kentucky Derby and enters with an 0-for-23 record. Epicenter is Asmussen’s best bet to get his first win after coming in first place in four of his last five races. In his second-place showing at the Lecomte Stakes on January 22, he was edged late by eventual winner Call Me Midnight. Epicenter rebounded from that race with wins at the Risen Star on February 19 and the Louisiana Derby on March 26.

Yu has locked in her 2022 Kentucky Derby picks for Epicenter, the favorite at 5-1. No one can top the experience of Epicenter’s trainer, Steve Asmussen, who has nearly 10,000 wins across his Hall of Fame career. But the one victory that has eluded him is the Kentucky Derby, and even though he’s had multiple runners-up at Churchill Downs, he stands 0-for-23 in the Run for the Roses.

But Asmussen has never had the Derby favorite before like Epicenter. The horse has won four of his last five races and has victories at every distance between one mile and 1 3/16 mile. However, he’s not flawless and was overtaken down the stretch at the Lecomte Stakes, finishing second despite being the favorite. Epicenter presents Asmussen’s best chance at getting his first Kentucky Derby victory and the horse will be saddled by Joel Rosario, who rode Orb to a win at the 2013 Run for the Roses.

Yu also has a strong read on Taiba, one of the favorites in the latest Kentucky Derby odds 2022 at 6-1. Taiba enters the 2022 Kentucky Derby field with an unblemished record, finishing first in both of his starts.

The three-year-old Colt finished first in the Santa Anita Derby on April 9, beating Messier and Happy Jack, two other 2022 Kentucky Derby horses. Taiba is trained by Tim Yakteen, who took over for Bob Baffert after he was suspended by Churchill Downs. Mike Smith, a two-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey who rode Justify to a Triple Crown in 2018, will be in the saddle on Taiba.  

How to make 2022 Kentucky Derby picks, bets

Yu is high on three other horses, including an enormous long shot you need to see now. Yu says this long shot “always comes running in the end” and will appear in all of her exotics, potentially setting up a huge payday. She is including this horse in her 2022 Kentucky Derby bets, and so should you. She’s sharing which horses to back only at SportsLine.

Where do Messier, Taiba and Epicenter, and every other horse finish in the 2022 Kentucky Derby? And which enormous long shot is a must-back? Check out the Kentucky Derby odds 2022 below, then visit SportsLine to see Yu’s picks for the Kentucky Derby, all from the expert who nailed last year’s winner on Derby Day.

2022 Kentucky Derby odds, horses, futures

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