Thursday, June 30, 2022

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

With the 2022 Kentucky Derby just days away, favorites to win the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown have emerged. Epicenter collected 164 points in the 2022 Kentucky Derby prep races after winning four of his last five starts. Other top 2022 Kentucky Derby contenders include Messier (6-1), Taiba (6-1), Zandon (6-1) and Mo Donegal (8-1). However, Epicenter is favored to cross the finish line first, going off at 5-1 in the 2022 Kentucky Derby odds. The Kentucky Derby 2022 gets underway from Churchill Downs on Saturday. Will one of the 2022 Kentucky Derby favorites win the 148th Run for the Roses, or will a long shot claim the first jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown? The 2022 Kentucky Derby post time is 6:57 p.m. ET. 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. Messier is an experienced colt who has six races under his belt heading into the Kentucky Derby 2022.

However, Messier has won just one of his last three starts, beating Cabo Spirit and Wharton at the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park on Feb. 6. In his last start, Messier secured a runner-up finish at the Santa Anita Derby on April 9, his first race at 1 1/8 miles. Yu believes the added length of the track at Churchill Downs will cause trouble for Messier, especially with such a strong 2022 Kentucky Derby field.

Yu has locked in her 2022 Kentucky Derby picks for Epicenter, the favorite at 5-1. Epicenter will be jockeyed by Joel Rosario, who won the 2013 Kentucky Derby with Orb and finished 2021 as the top-earning jockey in North America.

Fans and media had a chance to see Epicenter in action in a workout last Sunday, when he ran a six-furlong session at 1.12.20. While that certainly isn’t as fast of a pre-Derby workout time that some other horses have turned in, Epicenter’s believers say the eye test still favors his form. Many expect this year’s Kentucky Derby will be run at a slower pace, so the winner is likely the one that runs with power rather than top-end speed.

Yu also has a strong read on Taiba, one of the favorites in the latest Kentucky Derby odds 2022 at 6-1. Taiba is the son of Gun Runner, who finished third at the 2016 Kentucky Derby and won multiple Grade 1 races. Taiba has also done nothing but win in his brief racing career, galloping to a 7 1/2-length victory in his first start and overtaking Messier in his other start at Santa Anita. His undefeated record is hard to ignore, as eight of the last 11 Kentucky Derby winners entered Churchill Downs undefeated on the season.

However, it’s also impossible to look past the fact he has just two races to his name. Taiba did not race as a two-year-old and it’s rare for inexperienced horses to win the Kentucky Derby. Only one racehorse since 1882 (Justify in 2018) has won the Kentucky Derby without racing as a juvenile. Still, Justify not only won that race, but he also went on to win the Triple Crown. Jockey Mike Smith was aboard Justify in 2018 and he has been chosen to saddle Taiba this year.

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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