Bob Baffert’s six Kentucky Derby wins are tied for the most of any trainer in history and it appeared as if he’d set a new record with his seventh last year. However, Medina Spirit tested positive for a banned substance after crossing the line first and was later disqualified. Baffert won’t be allowed to compete in the 2022 Kentucky Derby on Saturday while he serves a suspension, but he’ll still have his fingerprints on the race with two of the 2022 Kentucky Derby horses he trained running at Churchill Downs. Messier and Taiba were both transferred to longtime Baffert assistant Tim Yakteen’s barn and own four of the five best Beyer Speed Figures in the 2022 Kentucky Derby field. Messier is 8-1 and Taiba is 12-1 in the 2022 Kentucky Derby odds, but Zandon is the 3-1 favorite. 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. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Epicenter will have experience on his side after running in six races as a two- and three-year-old. However, he hasn’t been dominant and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who has had worse luck in the Kentucky Derby than Asmussen.
The winningest trainer in North American horse racing history, Asmussen is a staggering 0-for-23 at the Kentucky Derby. Epicenter finished sixth in his debut race at Churchill Downs as a two-year-old, when a sloppy track contributed heavily to his failings. Track condition could be a factor again on Saturday with rain falling Friday in Louisville.
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 is one of the few 2022 Kentucky Derby horses to defeat Zandon, as he did that in winning the Remsen Stakes. His last time out saw Mo Donegal display his unparalleled closing speed, as he ran the final three-eighths of a mile in the Wood Memorial Stakes in 35.61 seconds to win that race.
Every horse in the 2022 Kentucky Derby field had the final three-eighths of a mile in their last prep race timed, and Mo Donegal’s bested them all. In fact, his 35.61 seconds is the fastest by any Kentucky Derby starter since 2016. The next fastest time during that stretch was by Maximum Security in the 2019 Florida Derby, and the horse would go on to win that year’s Kentucky Derby before being disqualified due to interference. Mo Donegal is in a league of his own in regards to his final kick, and with the most experienced Derby trainer in Todd Pletcher by his side, he carries plenty of value for 2022 Kentucky Derby bets.