2022 Blue Grass Stakes Betting Odds, Picks, Longshots & Best Bets: Can Smile Happy Punch Ticket to Kentucky Derby in $1 Million Prep Race? (April 9)

2022 Blue Grass Stakes Betting Odds, Picks, Longshots & Best Bets: Can Smile Happy Punch Ticket to Kentucky Derby in $1 Million Prep Race? (April 9) article feature image

Patrick Smith/Getty Images. Pictured: Jockey Flavien Prat.

We are inching closer to the first Saturday in May and the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby,  with three more monster stakes races taking place that will help set the field for the annual "Run for the Roses" on May 7 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

Arguably the biggest event Saturday takes place in the Heartland of America when 12 Derby hopefuls are slated to enter the starting gate in the $1 million Grade 1 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky.

The winner of the 1 1/8-mile event on the dirt track earns 100 points, which guarantees the horse and its connections a spot in the starting gate for the Derby. Finishing second is good for 40 points, which almost assures that horse a shot at the Derby crown as well.

The field is set for Saturday's G1 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes!

100 points on the line @KeenelandRacing & you can watch each moment on the #RoadtotheDerby live on @TVG!

Race 9, 5:10PM ET / 2:10PM PT pic.twitter.com/cuxyIGO5GD

— TVG (@TVG) April 6, 2022

Looking to build on their solid run of winning picks this season, TVG analyst Andie Biancone and Action Network handicapper Jeremy Pond have returned with their best bets and favorite longshots.

So, without further ado, let's check out their top picks and other wagers.

Tune in to TVG for coverage of the Blue Grass Stakes, plus the entire racing card at Keeneland, to catch Biancone deliver her inside analysis and reporting for the day's exciting schedule from Lexington.

2022 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes Odds

*Latest Odds via TVG

1 — Commandperformance12-1Irad Ortiz, Jr.
2 — Fenwick20-1Paco Lopez
3 — Trademark30-1Rafael Bejarano
4 — Zandon5-2Flavian Prat
5 — Volcanic20-1Adam Beschizza
6 — Emmanuel9-2Luis Saez
7 — Golden Glider20-1Ricardo Santana, Jr.
8 — Ethereal Road20-1Luis Contreras
9 — Rattle N Roll8-1Brian Hernandez, Jr.
10 — Smile Happy9-5Corey Lanerie
11 — Blackadder20-1Florent Geroux
12 — Grantham20-1Tyler Gaffalione

Race Information

Date | Post Time: Saturday | 5:10 p.m. ET

Distance | Surface: 1 1/8 miles | Dirt

Location: Keeneland Race Course | Lexington, Ky.

Blue Grass Stakes Top Picks & Longshots

Andie Biancone

No. 4 Zandon (5-2): This horse was impressive to say the least in the Risen Star Stakes. He stumbled at the start, then wound up going five wide and still managed to rally for third against winner Epicenter and runner-up Smile Happy. Epicenter then went on to officially book his ticket in the Derby field with a win in the Louisiana Derby.

There's no question that the 1 1/8-mile distance is perfectly suited to his running style, plus having some speed to his inside on the track will certainly be advantageous.

This horse is improving in every start, running a lifetime-best number off a layoff. I also love seeing  jockey Flavian Prat in the irons. The pair could be dangerous together if they are able to get the right trip.

No. 10 Smile Happy (9-5): I was trying to think of any reason to beat race favorite Smile Happy, but I simply can’t in this case.

His record speaks for itself and it will be exciting to see how he performs with the second-place in the Risen Star under his belt. This horse has been impressive since his debut and just seems to keep getting better and better.

The track has been good or sloppy at Keeneland the past few days, and with more damp weather on the way to Lexington (as well as being out of a Pleasant Tap mare), this contender should certainly take to the slop.

Smile Happy has had a decent work tab preceding this race and the distance should be perfect for him in the Blue Grass.

Smile Happy and his connections look forward to his start in the Bluegrass Stakes after placing 2nd in the Risen Star #KyDerbypic.twitter.com/5MCWpRAXbg

— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) April 5, 2022

Longshot — No. 5 Volcanic (20-1): At a morning-line price of 20-1, I’m going to take a shot by including Volcanic. This horse got a little tired in the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, but still managed to hang on for third place.

The main reason why I'm picking Volcanic is because he’s out of a Pulpit mare and the slop will certainly be a huge determining factor in the race.

Volcanic has never really run a bad race, other than in the Grade 1 Hopeful when he hit his head coming out of the gate, and on debut when he ran five furlongs that was a distance proving much too short for him.

Let’s also not forget that he beat Florida Derby runner-up Charge It, who is probably my favorite Derby hopeful of the trainer Todd Pletcher's brigade, when he broke his maiden.

Jeremy Pond

Blue Grass Stakes Best Bets

$10 Win | Place | Show: No. 10 Smile Happy (9-5)

$5 Place | Show: No. 1 Commandperformance (12-1)

$10 Show: No. 5 Volanic (20-1)

$4 Exacta: 4-6-10 over 1-4-5-6-9-10

Exotic Wagering

(Races 8-9)

Biancone's Daily Double

Shakertown Stakes | Blue Grass Stakes

4-10 | 1-4-5-9-10

Pond's Daily Double

Shakertown Stakes | Blue Grass Stakes

4-9-10 | 1-4-5-6-9-10

Full speed ahead on the #RoadtotheDerby! Here's a look at the current Kentucky Derby Leaderboard led by Epicenter with 164 points.

Upcoming prep races on 4/9:
Toyota Blue Grass @keeneland
Santa Anita Derby @SantaAnitaPark
Wood Memorial at Aqueduct pic.twitter.com/MeAO4mXYt6

— TVG (@TVG) April 6, 2022

Road to the 2022 Kentucky Derby

Jan. 22Lecomte (Grade III)Call Me Midnight
Jan. 29Southwest (III)Newgrange
Feb. 5Holy Bull (III)White Abarrio
Feb. 5Withers (III)Early Voting
Feb. 6Robert B. Lewis (III)Messier
Feb. 12Sam F. Davis (III)Classic Causeway
Feb. 12El Camino Real DerbyBlackadder
Feb. 19Risen Star (III)Epicenter
Feb. 26Rebel (II)Un Ojo
March 5John Battaglia MemorialTiz the Bomb
March 5Fountain of Youth (II)Simplification
March 5San Felipe (II)Forbidden Kingdom
March 5Gotham (II)Morello
March 12Tampa Bay Derby (II)Classic Causeway
March 26UAE DerbyCrown Pride
March 26Louisiana Derby (II)Epicenter
March 27Sunland Derby (III)Slow Down Andy
April 2Florida Derby (I)White Abarrio
April 2Arkansas Derby (I)Cyberknife
April 2Jeff Ruby Steaks (III)Tiz the Bomb
April 9Wood Memorial (II)Aqueduct (100-40-20-10)
April 9Blue Grass (II)Keeneland (100-40-20-10)
April 9Santa Anita Derby (I)Santa Anita Park (100-40-20-10)
April 16Lexington (III)Keeneland (100-40-20-10)

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