After post positions were drawn, the 2022 Kentucky Derby field was set for the Run for the Roses on Saturday at Churchill Downs. Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen is looking for his first-ever Kentucky Derby win in 23 starts. He returns to Churchill Downs with Epicenter, a three-year-old coming off of a victory at the Louisiana Derby on March 26. Zandon is the favorite in the current 2022 Kentucky Derby odds at 3-1, with Epicenter (7-2), Messier (8-1) and Mo Donegal (10-1) arriving as other notable 2022 Kentucky Derby contenders. The 2022 Kentucky Derby post time is 6:57 p.m. ET. 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. On Friday, he nailed the exacta in the 2022 Kentucky Oaks. 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. Epicenter is one of the only 2022 Kentucky Derby horses to earn both Beyer and Brisnet speed figures of 100 or more. However, Epicenter’s runner-up finish at the Lecomte Stakes in January gives the expert some pause.
“I really hoped he would be the favorite so I could get a better price on my top two,” Demling told SportsLine. “Epicenter’s only race he didn’t finish first or second was at Churchill Downs in his first game. He’s won on the lead and stalking and has really good speed numbers. I can see him capturing the roses, but I’m going elsewhere.”
Another stunner: Demling is high on Mo Donegal, even though he’s a double-digit long shot and will race from the inside post. Mo Donegal drew the inside rail post position. Eight winners have broken from post No. 1 in Kentucky Derby history, but it hasn’t been a favorable spot over the past few decades since 1986 was the last time a horse won from there.
Mo Donegal, however, has hit the board in all five of his career races and is coming off a first-place finish at the Wood Memorial in early April. Demling isn’t concerned about the colt getting pushed back early because he believes he has the speed to make a run from behind. “He should be right there, running in the stretch,” Demling told SportsLine, making him a strong choice for 2022 Kentucky Derby bets.