2022 Kentucky Derby: Analysis & Picks for Saturday’s Churchill Downs Card

By | May 5, 2022

For the only time all year, 20 horses will take to the starting gate at Churchill Downs. Who will become the 2022 Kentucky Derby champion?

Kentucky Derby Analysis

Churchill Downs Race 12-Kentucky Derby

Post: 6:57 PM ET; Purse: $3,000,000 Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve, 1 1/4 Miles on Dirt; Entries: 20

Taiba is 12-1 on the Kentucky Derby morning line.
Taiba. Photo Credit: Blood Horse

The Major Players

  • #3 EPICENTER (7-2) was at one point the consensus favorite for the race, but he’s been off since the Louisiana Derby. Don’t get fooled by recency, this one is still very much in play to give Steve Asmussen his first ever Kentucky Derby win.
  • #6 MESSIER (8-1) feels so much like last year’s winner, the late Medina Spirit. This one could be the California speed coming out of a second place finish in the Santa Anita Derby, formerly trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Johnny V.
  • #10 ZANDON (3-1) will need to close but should get pace. The draw is absolutely perfect for the Blue Grass Stakes winner.
  • #12 TAIBA (12-1) gets the check mark from me. California has been dominant in this race and this might be one of the most transformational talents I’ve seen in over a decade. Sure the horse is lightly raced, but you will never get 12-1 on a horse with this talent ever again. Strike while the iron’s hot.

The Possible Upsetters

  • #1 MO DONEGAL (10-1) drew the rail. In Kentucky Derby, Oaks: Post position Winners and Losers earlier this week I outlined why I don’t think that hurts this one’s chances. He’s a talented horse I just don’t love his run style for this race.
  • #7 CROWN PRIDE (20-1) is a Japanese import and the island nation has been taking it to the world on the biggest stage. The race projects to get quick up front and this one showed he can win under those circumstances in the UAE Derby.
  • #8 CHARGE IT (20-1) is getting better with each start and still showed immaturity in the Florida Derby. Pletcher can get this one to keep improving. If I could make a future bet on which horse would win a Breeders’ Cup Classic from this field. This is where my money would be, the question will be how close to that potential is he here.
  • #9 TIZ THE BOMB (30-1) was a horse that I had discounted basically from the beginning. He looks every bit a turf horse who lucked into this race. However, the early success of Turfway Park shippers at Churchill combined with the inside draw have me liking this one more than I thought I would.

The Underneaths

  • #4 SUMMER IS TOMORROW (30-1) is a full blown speed ball. This one will launch from the gate and go as fast as he can as long as he can. I don’t know if he can win, but can he take the starch out of the closers and hang on for a piece? Maybe.
  • #14 BARBER ROAD (30-1) loves to fly late and can maybe sneak into the bottom part of vertical exotics. My fear is that this will become the “wise guy” under key and offer no value in the bottom rungs of the trifecta and super.
  • #15 WHITE ABARRIO (10-1) is a horse that just doesn’t visually pass the test for me. He was still very green in winning the Florida Derby, but unlike Charge It had significantly more experience. Saffie Joseph hasn’t had as much success outside of Florida. I lean toss on this one, but he is talented and maybe against a top heavy group that’s enough.

The Tosses

  • #2 HAPPY JACK (30-1) clunked up against small fields in California. It is hard to make a case here.
  • #5 SMILE HAPPY (20-1) has been on the Kentucky Derby radar for a while but as a horseplayer you want to see progression in the 3 year old season and it just hasn’t clicked like it has for others.
  • #13 SIMPLIFICATION (20-1) just barely got kicked onto this list. Coming out of Florida players have to decide what they think of the Gulfstream Park form.
  • #11 PIONEER OF MEDINA (30-1) is an honest horse, but these are elite animals and it feels a little like the rookie got called up to the big club here. This one will be better returning to the smaller ponds post Derby fever.
  • #16 CYBERKNIFE (20-1) is one the buzz horses this year with a lot of insiders touting his work in the mornings. This one feels like boom or bust. He may win or he may finish last. I haven’t loved the Oaklawn Park form this year, so I lean latter.
  • #17 CLASSIC CAUSEWAY (30-1) needs the lead and even then it would have been dicey here. He won’t get the lead from the 17 post.
  • #18 TAWNY PORT (30-1) comes in off short rest, from a bad post, with subpar speed figures.
  • #19 ZOZOS (20-1) just doesn’t have the resume to overcome this outside draw. Even inside it would have been a big ask.
  • #20 ETHEREAL ROAD (30-1) made the gate with the final few scratches. There would have to be some serious improvement to hit the board here.

Selections: 12-6-10-3

Betting the Derby

Betting the above selections in any kind of vertical wager will not produce much value. On Thursday at 2 pm Eastern Betting News will provide a betting guide for all budgets. The focus of the article will be to provide a balance between the probability of winning the wager with the value returned.

Kentucky Derby Undercard Analysis

Churchill Downs Race 1

Post: 10:30 AM ET; Purse: $120,000 Maiden Special Weight, 1 Mile on Dirt; Entries: 15

  • #1 UNLEASH THE POWER (12-1) is an interesting first time starter. This one will need to take money for me to keep on top, but if he does this could be the way to get on house money right from the start.
  • #14 GASOLINE (4-1) appears to be the pace setter with Luis Saez aboard.
  • #13 MONTAUK POINT (4-1) has the best overall numbers of those with experience.
  • #10 LOGICO (9-2) could be competitive given his speed figures.

Selections: 1-14-13-10

Churchill Downs Race 2

Post: 11:01 AM ET; Purse: $127,000 Allowance Optional Claiming, 6 1/2 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 10

  • #4 SURFER DUDE (3-1) gets the top pick based on the projected setup of the race.
  • #8 OSBOURNE (8-1) gets Gaffalione in the saddle who is always dangerous in Kentucky.
  • #3 UNPREDICTABLE BAY (6-1) has the top speed figures in the race.
  • #5 IGNITIS (15-1) could be ready to run big in this spot.

Selections: 4-8-3-5

Churchill Downs Race 3

Post: 11:31 AM ET; Purse: $127,000 Allowance, 1 1/8 Miles on Turf; Entries: 10

  • #3 LADY ROCKSTAR (8-1) has been good at this distance and wouldn’t be a surprise to get the job done here.
  • #8 TALKING BOOK (9-2) has the top speed figures in the bunch.
  • #2 COMMUNITY ADJUSTED (4-1) has a chance based on the stamina.
  • #9 QUEEN BOURBON (9-2) could be competitive given the connections.

Selections: 3-8-2-9

Churchill Downs Race 4

Post: 12:04 PM ET; Purse: $127,000 Allowance Optional Claiming, 1 1/16 Miles on Dirt; Entries: 15

  • #4 COVER ME UP (8-1) gets the top pick based the flow of this race. The cozy inside draw is perfect.
  • #1 MCLAREN VALE (9-2) is a class play in this spot.
  • #1A VARATTI (9-2) could be a player here if this is the entry mate that goes.
  • #12 EMIRATES ROAD (5-1) could be competitive given the speed figures.

Selections: 4-1-101-12

Churchill Downs Race 5

Post: 12:36 PM ET; Purse: $500,000 Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile S., 1 Mile on Turf; Entries: 8

  • #2 FLOWER POINT (8-1) gets the best turf jockey in America. This one is worth a shot.
  • #7 IN ITALIAN (3-1) is a player at the turf mile.
  • #6 LADY SPEIGHTSPEARE (5-2) may set the pace in this race and could be tough to reel in late.
  • #8 SPEAK OF THE DEVIL (2-1) comes into the race in great form.

Selections: 2-7-6-8

Churchill Downs Race 6

Post: 1:14 PM ET; Purse: $160,000 Knicks Go Overnight S. presented by L&N Federal Credit Union, 1 Mile on Dirt; Entries: 12

  • #12 ENDORSED (12-1) goes out for Maker and Gaffalione.
  • #5 GUN IT (10-1) was super impressive on debut and maybe can find a way back to the potential he showed then.
  • #2 SHARED SENSE (3-1) has a chance based on the speed figures to win here and despite being a closer should be much closer here.
  • #4 DREAM SHAKE (5-2) has been really solid at the mile distance.

Selections: 12-5-2-4

Churchill Downs Race 7

Post: 1:56 PM ET; Purse: $500,000 Pat Day Mile S. presented by LG&E and KU, 1 Mile on Dirt; Entries: 12

  • #5 JACK CHRISTOPHER (2-1) kicks off the AAA Derby as a deserving favorite. He comes off an injury and just couldn’t get back in time to get a prep race in to make the Derby. If he’s anywhere close to old form, back up the brinks truck.
  • #3 PAPPACAP (6-1) has solid speed figures to be competitive here.
  • #10 DOPPELGANGER (6-1) has run against some really good company.
  • #11 MY PRANKSTER (4-1) wouldn’t be a huge shock here either.

Selections: 5-3-10-11

Churchill Downs Race 8

Post: 2:48 PM ET; Purse: $750,000 Derby City Distaff S. presented by Kendall-Jackson Winery, 7 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 8

  • #1 LADY ROCKET (5-1) gets the top pick based on speed figures and early pace.
  • #7 EDGEWAY (4-1) should get a nice setup here.
  • #2 JUST ONE TIME (3-1) seems to really enjoy these middle sprints.
  • #4 KIMARI (9-2) could be competitive given the class.

Selections: 1-7-2-4

Churchill Downs Race 9

Post: 3:40 PM ET; Purse: $500,000 American Turf S. presented by BMW, 1 1/16 Miles on Turf; Entries: 11

  • #8 ROYAL SPIRIT (15-1) has run good numbers against better. It might not be enough but it does give you pause. At the price it is well worth it.
  • #6 PORTFOLIO COMPANY (9-2) is another who has run against really good competition
  • #10 COINAGE (6-1) may get a really nice setup in this race.
  • #2 MAIN EVENT (5-1) is a fringe runner in with a chance.

Selections: 8-6-10-2

Churchill Downs Race 10

Post: 4:31 PM ET; Purse: $750,000 Churchill Downs S. presented by Ford, 7 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 8

Jackie's Warrior will be featured on the Kentucky Derby undercard.
Jackie’s Warrior
  • #3 JACKIE’S WARRIOR (5-2) is the most talented. If he brings his A game then the rest are running for 2nd.
  • #7 MIND CONTROL (5-1) is a player given the form.
  • #8 CEZANNE (4-1) has a chance based on the stamina.
  • #6 PREVALENCE (6-1) appears well meant here and has to be respected.

Selections: 3-7-8-6 (Best Bet #3 JACKIE’S WARRIOR)

Churchill Downs Race 11

Post: 5:27 PM ET; Purse: $1,000,000 Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic S., 1 1/8 Miles on Turf; Entries: 10

  • #4 TRIBHUVAN (5-1) has proven he’s more than just a speed burner on the turf.
  • #6 SHIRL’S SPEIGHT (3-1) has to be considered given the record at the distance.
  • #5 MIRA MISSION (10-1) comes into the race in good form, but may be a cut below these.
  • #1 IVAR (4-1) has the top power rating in the group and wouldn’t be a total surprise here.

Selections: 4-6-5-1

Churchill Downs Race 12

Post: 6:57 PM ET; Purse: $3,000,000 Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve, 1 1/4 Miles on Dirt; Entries: 22

  • Kentucky Derby Analaysis Above

Selections: 12-6-10-3

Churchill Downs Race 13

Post: 7:55 PM ET; Purse: $134,000 Allowance Optional Claiming, 1 1/16 Miles on Dirt; Entries: 14

  • #6 CANDY TYCOON (9-2) gets the top pick based on speed figures.
  • #13 SOUP AND SANDWICH (4-1) makes sense if he can work out a trip from the wide post.
  • #1A PAYNE (20-1) is interesting at a really nice price, but probably factors more underneath than on top.
  • #5 TREASURY (8-1) may enjoy the setup of this race.

Selections: 6-13-1A-5

Churchill Downs Race 14

Post: 8:30 PM ET; Purse: $120,000 Maiden Special Weight, 6 Furlongs on Dirt; Entries: 14

  • #12 BOURBON HEIST (4-1) looks poised to break the maiden here with advantages on a lot of these.
  • #11 STROBE (3-1) has a morning line to suggest this one is well meant here.
  • #2 CONSPIRACY FACT (15-1) is a bit of reach trying to find value but there is a lot of unknowns here.
  • #13 BLOW TORCH (6-1) didn’t draw the best but is interesting in a race that looks pretty open.

Selections: 12-11-2-13

More Kentucky Oaks and Derby Coverage from Betting News

  • Thursday 2 pm Eastern: Bankroll Management Tips for 2 Days of Racing Including Bets for Every Budget
  • Friday 9 am Eastern: Upgrades and Downgrades Based on May 3rd, 4th, and 5th Racing.

The post 2022 Kentucky Derby: Analysis & Picks for Saturday’s Churchill Downs Card appeared first on Betting News.

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