The 2022 Kentucky Derby field is set after Monday’s post draw sent Mo Donegal to the rail. Mo Donegal is sired by Uncle Mo, a Kentucky Derby contender in 2011 before he was scratched with an illness. Mo Donegal will need the speed in his pedigree to overcome drawing the No. 1 post when the Kentucky Derby 2022 goes to post on Saturday at 6:57 p.m. ET. Mo Donegal is trained by Todd Pletcher, who won the Kentucky Derby in 2010 with Super Saver and in 2017 with Always Dreaming. Pletcher and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. give Mo Donegal experienced connections, but he’s still 10-1 in the 2022 Kentucky Derby odds. Zandon drew the No. 10 post and is the 3-1 Kentucky Derby favorite, while Epicenter is 7-2. With so much to consider, you’ll want to see what SportsLine’s Jody Demling has to say before entering any 2022 Kentucky Derby picks or horse racing predictions of your own.
A fixture in the horse racing world who has been writing about, talking about and betting on races for years, Demling has been on-point with his horse racing bets. He hit the exacta in the Wood Memorial in April. Last year, he hit the exacta, trifecta and superfecta in the Belmont Stakes. This is the same handicapper who hit the Derby-Oaks double at Churchill Downs nine times in the last 13 years. That means he held a ticket with the winners of both the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby all but four times in his last 13 tries.
In addition, at one point in 2020, he picked the winners of six straight races: the Saudi Cup, Gotham Stakes, Rebel Stakes, Louisiana Derby, Florida Derby, and Belmont Stakes. Anyone who has followed him on these races is way up.
Now, with the 2022 Kentucky Derby lineup locked in, Demling is sharing his picks and predictions over at SportsLine. Go here to see them.
Top 2022 Kentucky Derby predictions
One of Demling’s surprising 2022 Kentucky Derby picks: He is fading Epicenter, saying one of the top favorites barely even cracks the top three. Purchased in an auction at Keeneland nearly two years ago for $260,000, Winchell Thoroughbreds turned to Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen to train its prized colt. As a two-year-old, Epicenter struggled in his debut, finishing seventh in a seven-furlong maiden race at Churchill Downs last September. However, he broke his maiden on the legendary track two months later in a one-mile run.
Epicenter then moved to the Fair Grounds in Louisiana, where he won the Gun Runner Stakes, Risen Star Stakes and Louisiana Derby while finishing second at the Lecomte Stakes. While he’s won from the front and while stalking the pace, the concern is that he’s peaked and Asmussen is 0-for-23 in the Kentucky Derby as a trainer.
Another stunner: Demling is high on Mo Donegal, even though he’s a double-digit long shot and will race from the inside post. The first starting gate is generally a poor draw, but Demling believes Mo Donegal can drop back at the beginning and make a run down the stretch. He has proven his speed in the 2022 Kentucky Derby prep races and is being trained by one of the best barns in horse racing.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has started at least one horse in the Kentucky Derby field every year but 2003, winning in 2010 (Super Saver) and 2017 (Always Dreaming). Mo Donegal is the son of Uncle Mo, who was the champion two-year-old male in 2010. Uncle Mo has already produced one Kentucky Derby winner, Nyquist, who won the 2016 edition of this race.