2022 Kentucky Derby Futures Odds & Prep Races: Bob Baffert Contender Corniche Tabbed Betting Favorite

2022 Kentucky Derby Futures Odds & Prep Races: Bob Baffert Contender Corniche Tabbed Betting Favorite article feature image

Rob Carr/Getty Images. Pictured: Jockey Mike Smith pilots Corniche to the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile win.

Things are about to heat up on the road to the 2022 Kentucky Derby, with prep races galore taking place in the months leading up to the 148th running of the annual "Run for the Roses" on May 7 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

And with roughly two dozen graded stakes events come plenty of opportunities for bettors to get in on the action via futures wagering ahead of the first leg of horse racing's Triple Crown series.

Leading the way in the latest betting odds at Caesars is Corniche, the current favorite at 6-1 odds. Guided by embattled trainer Bob Baffert, the 2021 Breeders' Cup Juvenile champion is actually not listed individually in the official Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2, which opened Friday at 12 p.m. ET to the betting public.

Baffert's contender wasn't listed in Pool 1 either, which took place from Nov. 26 to Nov. 29. Furthermore, there are no Baffert trainees listed as separate wagering interests the latest pool. The Hall of Fame trainer was banned from running his horses in the Kentucky Derby for two years by Churchill Downs after 2021 winner Medina Spirit tested positive for a medication overage.

Mattress Mack – aka Jim McIngvale – put $10,000 on Smile Happy in the first pool of the @KentuckyDerby Future Wager. He plans to do similar for Pool 2, which opens Friday.https://t.co/P8sqZtwzTT

📸: Gallery Furniture pic.twitter.com/iXSirPSIye

— Horse Racing Nation (@HR_Nation) January 20, 2022

Derby hopeful Jack Christopher, trained by Chad Brown, checks in as the current second choice at 15-1 odds. He's followed by Messier — another Baffert charge — at 20-1 odds, and Smile Happy, who's trained by Ken McPeek.

At least one person has a lot of confidence in Smile Happy. Renowned sports bettor Jim McIngvale, better known as "Mattress Mack," reportedly dropped $10,000 on the horse, who's the offspring of 2015 Breeders' Cup Sprint winner and champion sire Runhappy (whom he owns), and now stands at stud at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky.

2022 Kentucky Derby Futures Odds

* Odds via Caesars Sportsbook

Corniche+600Bob Baffert
Jack Christopher+1500Chad Brown
Smile Happy+2000Ken McPeek
Messier+2000Bob Baffert
Rattle N Roll+2200Ken McPeek
Zandon+2500Chad Brown
Epicenter+2500Steve Asmussen
Pappacap+2500Mark Casse
Commandperformance+3000Todd Pletcher
Newgrange+3500Bob Baffert
Mo Donegal+3500Todd Pletcher
Classic Causeway+3500Brian Lynch
Rocket Dawg+4500Brad Cox
Nakatomi+4500Wesley Ward
Cyberknife+5000Brad Cox
Doppelgänger+5000Bob Baffert
Emmanuel+5000Todd Pletcher
Wit+5000Todd Pletcher
Slow Down Andy+5000Doug O'Neill

Other notable hopefuls at +5500 odds or longer (trainer in parentheses): Gunite +5500 (Steve Asmussen); Rockefeller +5500 (Bob Baffert); Major General +5500 (Todd Pletcher); Octane +6000 (Carlos David); Howling Time +6000 (Dale Romans); HP Moon +6500 (Lacey Gaudet); and, Sir London +6500 (Simon Callaghan).

Here is the schedule for the Kentucky Derby prep races, including dates and points awarded for the top-four finishers in each event:

Road to the 2022 Kentucky Derby

Jan. 22Lecomte (Grade III)Fair Grounds (10-4-2-1)
Jan. 29Southwest (III)Oaklawn Park (10-4-2-1)
Feb. 5Holy Bull (III)Gulfstream Park (10-4-2-1)
Feb. 5Robert B. Lewis (III)Santa Anita Park (10-4-2-1)
Feb. 5Sam F. Davis (III)Tampa Bay Downs (10-4-2-1)
Feb. 12Withers (III)Aqueduct (10-4-2-1)
Feb. 19El Camino Real DerbyGolden Gate Fields (10-4-2-1)
Feb. 19Risen Star (III)Fair Grounds (50-20-10-5)
Feb. 26Rebel (II)Oaklawn Park (50-20-10-5)
March 5John Battaglia MemorialTurfway Park (10-4-2-1)
March 5Fountain of Youth (II)Gulfstream Park (50-20-10-5)
March 5San Felipe (II)Santa Anita Park (50-20-10-5)
March 12Gotham (II)Aqueduct (50-20-10-5)
March 12Tampa Bay Derby (II)Tampa Bay Downs (50-20-10-5)
March 26UAE DerbyMeydan Racecourse (100-40-20-10)
March 26Louisiana Derby (II)Louisiana Downs (100-40-20-10)
March 27Sunland Derby (III)Sunland Park (50-20-10-5)
April 2Florida Derby (I)Gulfstream Park (100-40-20-10)
April 2Arkansas Derby (I)Oaklawn Park (100-40-20-10)
April 2Jeff Ruby Steaks (III)Turfway Park (100-40-20-10)
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)

Points system: As you probably gathered from the numbers listed next to each race in the graphic, the points breakdown is simple to understand. The top-four finishers in each race earn points toward their totals for entry in the Kentucky Derby. A maximum of 20 horses can enter the starting gate for the race, so racking up as many points as possible is crucial for all contenders.

For example, the winner of Saturday's Grade III Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans will receive 10 points. The runner-up gets four points, followed by the third-place runner (two points) and the fourth-place finisher getting a point.

Several races, specifically the Grade I stakes events, carry much more weight and value, hence the winner being awarded 100 points. That said, if a horse wins a featured event like the Florida Derby, Arkansas Derby or the Santa Anita Derby — all Grade I affairs — they're basically a lock to reach the starting gate.

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