The list of 2022 Kentucky Derby contenders is filled with horses from the Bluegrass State, but several have roots elsewhere in the country. Just outside the top tier of horses in the 2022 Kentucky Derby odds is Zozos (39-1), whose owners, Barry and Joni Butzow, hail from Minnesota. Zozos will be their first Kentucky Derby entry after more than 30 years in the industry. Taiba and Epicenter are the 2022 Kentucky Derby favorites at 5-1. The former has faced just 11 total opponents over two races so far, while Epicenter has won four of his last five races entering the Kentucky Derby 2022. 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. The Steve Asmussen-trained horse is one of the top 2022 Kentucky Derby contenders because he’s only finished outside the top two in one career race. He won the Louisiana Derby and the Risen Star, beating multiple other 2022 Kentucky Derby favorites in those races.
However, Demling isn’t willing to pay the premium price on Epicenter because he’s not sure how he’ll run at Churchill Downs. In fact, the one race that Epicenter finished off the board came at Churchill Downs last September, when he finished sixth in a seven-furlong maiden special weight race. He believes Epicenter will hit the board, but Demling tells SportsLine “he’s going elsewhere” for his top pick.
Another stunner: Demling is high on Mo Donegal, even though he’s almost a double-digit long shot and will race from the inside post. No horse has won the Kentucky Derby from the No. 1 post since Ferdinand in 1986, but the position has produced eight winners and there are certain horses that seemed better equipped for the rail.
Mo Donegal appears to be one of them, having won from the inside at the Remsen Stakes and Wood Memorial. Sired by legendary graded-stakes winner Uncle Mo, a Kentucky Derby contender in 2011 before illness forced him to be withdrawn, Mo Donegal is a physically-imposing horse who has excelled in traffic in his career. That’s what it will take for him to make use of the shortest trip around Churchill Downs and his odds dropped from 10-1 to 8-1 already on race day.