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Updated Kentucky Derby Odds & Betting Picks: Our Favorite Bets to Win, Exactas, Trifectas

Updated Kentucky Derby Odds & Betting Picks: Our Favorite Bets to Win, Exactas, Trifectas article feature image
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Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images. Pictured: Horses compete in the 2021 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

  • We're just a few hours from the Kentucky Derby, and our staff has you covered with every bet type -- to win, and the best longshots to use in exotics.
  • The Derby should be sloppy, with rain hitting Churchill Downs throughout the day on Saturday.
  • Get all our favorite Kentucky Derby bets below.

Updated Kentucky Derby Odds

Odds updated at 4:15 p.m. ET and via TwinSpires

POST POSITION  HORSE ODDS
1 Mo Donegal 9-1
2 Happy Jack 20-1
3 Epicenter 5-1
4 Summer Is Tomorrow 32-1
5 Smile Happy 15-1
6 Messier 6-1
7 Crown Pride 17-1
8 Charge It 14-1
9 Tiz The Bomb 26-1
10 Zandon 7-1
11 Pioneer Of Medina 52-1
12 Taiba 5-1
13 Simplification 39-1
14 Barber Road 50-1
15 White Abarrio 13-1
16 Cyberknife 12-1
17 Classic Causeway 77-1
18 Tawny Port 76-1
19 Zozos 44-1
20 Rich Strike 96-1

Yes, the day is finally here.

The 148th running of the Kentucky Derby takes place Saturday at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., with 20 of the world’s top 3-year-old horses scheduled to leave the starting gate. And the goal is simple and the same for all entrants and their connections: Win the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown.

Post time is set for 6:57 p.m. ET, with race coverage running from 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Earlier races from Churchill Downs will air on USA Network from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET as well.

Action Network handicappers Jeremy Pond, Sean Zerillo, Andie Biancone and Mike Conti have dropped their best bets tied to the Kentucky Derby and the undercard

So, let’s take a look at where our analysts have landed with their favorite bets.


2022 Kentucky Derby Day Best Bets

Jeremy Pond

Winner

No. 10 Zandon (8-1): This talented colt put in a breathtaking run under jockey Flavien Prat in the Blue Grass, working his way through a ton of traffic (aka tired horses) and exploded down the lane to roll past runner-up Smile Happy. He took huge leap in the data as well, earning 107 Equibase Speed Figure after posting consecutive 93s in his three previous stakes events.

Prat knows how to get a trip in these monster Derby fields, winning the 2019 event via disqualification under Country House. He rode Hot Rod Charlie to second in last year’s race following the late Medina Spirit’s DQ from the win.

Your likely favorite when they enter the starting gate.

Top Contenders

No. 12 Taiba (5-1): The lightly-raced son of 2017 Breeders’ Cup champion Gun Runner won the Santa Anita Derby in just his second career start. Prior to that, Taiba crushed the field in a six-furlong maiden sprint at Santa Anita.

Tim Yakteen takes over the trainer duties, as former boss Bob Baffert serves his two-year suspension at Kentucky tracks.

The big concern is that Taiba hasn’t faced a field remotely this size. In fact, he has gone against only 11 horses combined in the Santa Anita efforts. Now, he’s about to take on 19 others at a distance he’s never run at. That said, I’ve made the mistake leaving Baffert-connected charges off my Derby tickets. That’s not happening this time.

Taiba is getting slammed in the early wagering off his solid 12-1 morning-line odds. Major win candidate.

Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. is set to ride Wood Memorial winner Mo Donegal in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. Photo credit: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for The Stronach Group.

No. 1 Mo Donegal (8-1): Of all the horses in the field, I was most disappointed for the Wood Memorial winner. The talented son of Uncle Mo wound up in the unfortunate No. 1 post, which hasn’t produced a winner since 1986 when Ferdinand won.

However, two things working for Mo Donegal are that his two stakes wins came at 1 1/8 miles, which is just a furlong shorter than this distance. He also gets Irad Ortiz Jr., the three-time Eclipse Award winner, in the saddle. If there’s anyone who can navigate this post (other than Calvin “Bo-rail” Borel), it’s him.

Live Longshots

No. 16 Cyberknife (14-1): Another son of Gun Runner, the Arkansas Derby winner has been training well and could be sitting on a career effort for trainer Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux. Cyberknife has three wins in six career starts, never finishing worse than second in five races.

If you remember, the pair teamed up with Mandaloun in last year’s Derby for a second-place finish. The horse was eventually declared the winner when Medina Spirit was disqualified. So, getting the win that was nice, but you know the duo would love to win the Derby the old-fashioned way. Live contender.

No. 14 Barber Road (41-1): You have to admire this horse’s efforts. Purchased as a $15,000 weanling (he’s made north of $650,000 so far), Barber Road has eight career starts and finished out of the money only once.

I don’t think he’s a win candidate for trainer John Ortiz due to his bad case of “seconditis,” but he’s a must-use horse as a Show (third place) bet and all your exotic wagers. Expect him to pass a bunch of tired horses heading for home.

Exotic Wagers

Daily Double (Races 11-12): 3-4-6-8 | 1-5-10-12-16

Pick 4 (Races 9-12)

6-7-10 | 1-3-5-8 | 3-4-6-8 | 1-5-10-12-16

Sean Zerillo

Winner

No. 10 Zandon (8-1): I won’t necessarily be betting on Zandon to win at the short odds he’s likely going to go off at, but he’s the key in all of my exotics and multi-race wagers. He’s also the only horse tied to my Oaks-Derby Double.

Zandon has been the primary buzz horse in the lead-up to the Derby, working as well as any contender around Churchill Downs track, coming off his significant effort in the Blue Grass Stakes on April 9 at Keeneland Race Course.

I expect a closer to win this year’s edition of the Derby after the past eight winners came from on or just off the lead (all inside the top three  at the quarter pole). Zandon likes to come from off the pace, and he has an ideal post draw to work out a good trip from the middle of the starting gate.

Trainer Chad Brown is yet to win the Derby, but he’s come close (Good Magic ran second in 2018) and it’s only a matter of time before the four-time Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Trainer finds the winner’s circle in America’s most famous race.

Japanese horse Crown Pride works out for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Photo credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Longshot

No. 7 Crown Pride (17-1): Aside from Zandon, Crown Pride has garnered much of the hype at Churchill Downs over the past two weeks. Historically, Japanese-bred horses have struggled in the Triple Crown series, as have winners of the UAE Derby. Still, Crown Pride is the most visually impressive contender to fit those criteria.

Additionally, Japan has had a ton of success on the international stage lately, capturing prizes in big stakes races where they are rarely competitive.

I’m not sure if Crown Pride is fast enough to win, though I will use him on top of some tickets. I’m confident that he wants the Derby distance, and if there’s an honest pace up front, he’ll undoubtedly be passing tired horses in the stretch.

Before the race, Crown Pride’s final workout was visually impressive, clocking a pair of 11-second furlongs in his final quarter mile. He also seemed incredibly relaxed and looked like he could have done more if asked.

Aside from the skepticism surrounding Japanese horses and UAE Derby winners, there’s absolutely nothing to dislike about this horse. My only concern is that he’ll go off at odds closer to 10-1 — rather than his morning line of 20-1 — given all the buzz surrounding his works.

Either way, I’ll be including Crown Pride in all of my exotics.

Andie Biancone

Winner

No. 10 Zandon (8-1): This is such an even field, but Zandon is the one to really watch and is my top pick. He really impressed me the way he won the Blue Grass Stakes. The way he galloped out (after crossing the finish line)… (jockey Flavien) Prat could barely pull him up.

I was riding the pony for TVG that day doing post-race interviews and had the opportunity to interview Flavien (check out Andie’s interview at the 4:20 mark in the tweet below) after the race. And Zandon was not tired at all. That’s a great sign and it showed the Blue Grass didn’t take anything out of him. And surely, he’s gained a lot of confidence after that win.

Congratulations to team @TheRealChadCBr1 and the connections of Zamdon! This horse is the real deal what a confident ride by Flavian Prat 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 https://t.co/7hGcJ6B5iU

— Andie Biancone 🐴 (@andie_biancone) April 10, 2022

Longshot

No. 8 Charge It (13-1): This is another one to watch who could win at long odds. If Charge It can handle the pressure and take a step forward off his second-place effort in the Florida Derby, he has a chance.

He’s clearly full of try and shown a bit of versatility in the past where he has that speed to get out of the gate and can get a good position.

Daily Double (Races 11-12)

2-4-6-8 | 1-3-8-10-12

Mike Conti

Winner

No. 1 Mo Donegal (8-1): The Wood Memorial winner was impressive last time out, navigating plenty of traffic in the Derby prep race. He rode the rail, then swung out late to get up for the solid victory. The son of Uncle Mo should relish the extra furlong in the Derby as well.

With the new finish line and starting gate, the rail post position is no longer an automatic toss. With his running style and the expected pace, I expect jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. to be able to work out a trip to put him in position coming around the turn for home to explode in the stretch.

Contenders to Use in Exotic Wagers

No. 6 Messier (7-1) is one of two former Bob Baffert horses trained by Tim Yakteen. This is his second start off the layoff and he might have needed the Santa Anita Derby after pressuring early before getting passed in the stretch.

No. 12 Taiba (5-1) was an absolute beast in the Santa Anita, drawing away to win by more than two lengths. The other Baffert horse trained by Yakteen is the most lightly raced horse in the field, with only two starts under his belt. While the inexperience causes some concern, his running style and speed figures give confidence that equal, if not, outweigh the concerns.

No. 3 Epicenter (5-1) hasn’t done much wrong in his young career, with four wins from six career starts. He comes in off two consecutive graded stakes wins, both in impressive fashion. He’s one of only three horses to post a Beyer Speed Figure more than 100, with the other two being Messier and Taiba.

No. 10 Zandon (8-1) is the talk of the town after his victory in the Blue Grass Stakes and the way he’s been working leading into the main event. In the Blue Grass, he was able to work out a trip to close well and dominate the field. He’s a serious contender and one to use in vertical/horizontal wagers.

No. 19 Zozos (39-1) ran a good second in the Louisana Derby against Epicenter. With the likely solid pace in this race, he should be able to sit a stalking trip. And as long as he doesn’t get caught too wide going into the first turn, he’s my longshot play.

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