The Kentucky Derby will be run for the 148th time on Saturday, May 7, 2022. It is the most important horse race of the year: 20 of the best three-year-old horses in the United States will run 1 1/4 miles for a $3 million purse, the blanket of roses, and a place in horse racing history.
With such a big field, the Kentucky Derby is always a profitable betting race.
The 2022 Kentucky Derby should be thrilling to attend, with the track being open to full capacity for the first time since 2019. Even with the track open to full capacity, not everyone can make it to Louisville for the race.
Fortunately, you can still be part of the action no matter where you live! The best online sportsbooks offer an even better experience than the track: real Vegas odds, easy-to-use websites and mobile apps, and trusted online payments and cash-out — all without the long Derby Day betting lines you’ll see in Louisville!
The best horse racing betting sites, like Bovada, are also offering excellent bonuses and rebates for Kentucky Derby players. So, get ready for the 2022 Kentucky Derby by reading our expert reviews and finding out which ones fit your betting style best.
This is the official field for the 2022 Kentucky Derby including post positions, trainers, and jockeys:
Rich Strike and Rattle N Roll entered on the also-eligible list. They will be allowed to race if one or two horses (respectively) defect from the field by 9:00 a.m. EDT on Friday, May 6. If horses scratch after that point, no one will enter from the AE list since American on-track betting will have already begun.
Here are the odds on the top contenders for the 2022 Kentucky Derby.
First and foremost, Kentucky Derby winners tend to win or come in second in their final prep race. Since the points system began in 2013, every Kentucky Derby betting winner finished either first or second in their final prep except for Country House. Even then, Country House won by disqualification; the horse who crossed the wire first was Florida Derby winner Maximum Security.
Kentucky Derby winners also tend to come from some significant preps. Recently, those include the Florida Derby, the Arkansas Derby, and the Santa Anita Derby. Since these preps typically draw the best horses, it makes sense that these are the horses who can step forward in Kentucky.
Kentucky Derby winners are usually well-regarded by the betting public, but not always. Though the first six winners since the points system began in 2013 were favorites, the favorite did not win in 2019, 2020, or 2021. However, favorites typically run well — in all nine years since the points system began, the most heavily-bet horse finished in the superfecta.
The favorite in the 2022 Kentucky Derby will likely be either Epicenter or Zandon. Epicenter is the favorite in most Vegas markets, and his excellent Louisiana campaign makes that logical. He has the right set of tools for a strong Kentucky Derby contender: he has handled the longer distances with ease, and he proved in the Louisiana Derby that he has truly tactical speed.
Zandon is also coming into the Derby the right way, off of a strong victory in the Blue Grass (G1). He is working well into the race, and some early races suggest he doesn’t have to drop far back. However, you need to demand a bit of value on him since the Blue Grass has not been the strongest prep in recent years, and his more recent closing style tends to be more effective for underneath shares than wins.
Taiba is also worth watching among the market leaders. Though he cedes experience to everyone else in the field, both of his career races have come back extremely fast. The Santa Anita Derby has been one of the most productive prep races in recent years, he has the tactical running style that wins derbies, and Mike Smith shows up strongly in big races.
The best horse to bet in the 2022 Kentucky Derby is Cyberknife.
Though he took a bit longer to come into his best than some other Derby prospects, he put it all on display when winning the Arkansas Derby with authority. His tactical-speed running style is the right one to bring to the Kentucky Derby. His pedigree is far better for this Classic distance than most American horses. And, Brad Cox and Florent Geroux have become big-race dynamos in recent years.
One major theme of worldwide horse racing over the last year has been Japanese dominance at top meets, which brings us to Crown Pride. He has already proven he can ship, winning the UAE Derby (G2). He doesn’t have to drop too far off the pace. He also looked great at the 1 3/16 miles of his final prep, with a pedigree that appeals for 1 1/4 miles and beyond.
Barber Road has been one of the most consistent horses on the Kentucky Derby prep circuit. Even though he did not win any of them, he hit the board in all four points races at Oaklawn. He has held his form as the distances have lengthened, and he has been able to get those shares with a variety of race shapes. He is unlikely to win, but appeals strongly for intra-race exotics.
Once you have made your accounts on the top sportsbooks and taken a look at the contenders, here are the bets to make on the biggest race of the year.