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2022 Kentucky Derby Prep Race Betting Odds & Picks: Epicenter Favored in Louisiana Derby; Japanese Stars Lead UAE Derby Field (March 26)

2022 Kentucky Derby Prep Race Betting Odds & Picks: Epicenter Favored in Louisiana Derby; Japanese Stars Lead UAE Derby Field (March 26) article feature image
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Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jockey Tyler Gaffalione, who will ride Pioneer of Medina in Saturday’s Louisiana Derby in New Orleans.

  • The stakes are high Saturday on the road to the Kentucky Derby via the $1 million Louisiana Derby in New Orleans.
  • Handicappers Andie Biancone and Jeremy Pond both like favorite Epicenter, but have found value on two longshots.
  • Check out below where the duo has landed and who they think will win the featured Derby prep race.

We take another monster step toward the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, with more crucial points on the line in the $1 million Grade II Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans.

The winner of the 1 3/16-mile race on the dirt track earns 100 points, which guarantees the horse and its connections a spot in the starting gate for the 148th edition of the annual “Run for the Roses” on May 7 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Finishing second is good for 40 points, which almost assures that horse a shot at the Derby crown as well.

Looking to build on their solid run of winning picks on this lengthy Derby trail, TVG analyst Andie Biancone and Action Network handicapper Jeremy Pond are back again in their pursuit for more victories at solid profits. Biancone and Pond will unveil their Top 10 Derby contenders next week, so stay tuned to see who they think are the prime contender to win the first leg of the Triple Crown.

$1M & 100 Derby points on the line this Saturday @Fairgroundsnola for the G2 Louisiana Derby!@MattCTVG & @MrKenRudulphTV dive into the field of contenders headlined by Epicenter.
Join us for live on-site coverage of Race 12 at 6:44PM ET on TVG! #RoadtotheDerby pic.twitter.com/6lT9gXLu3N

— TVG (@TVG) March 24, 2022

That said, the duo dives into the solid Louisiana Derby field, featuring nine entrants. The scheduled post time is 6:44 p.m. ET, with TV coverage beginning at 6 p.m. ET on CNBC. Pond also has made picks for the UAE Derby, which is set to go off at 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday at Meyden Race Course in Dubai.

So, without further ado, let’s check out their best bets and other top wagers.

Tune in to TVG for coverage of the Louisiana Derby, plus the entire racing card at Gulfstream Park to catch Biancone deliver her inside analysis and reporting for the day’s slate from Hallandale Beach, Fla.

2022 Louisiana Derby (Grade II) Odds

*Latest Odds via TVG

PP | HORSE ODDS (MORNING LINE) JOCKEY
1 — Silent Power 50-1 Gerard Melancon
2 — Zozos 8-1 Florent Geroux
3 — Call Me Midnight 6-1 James Graham
4 — Curly Tail 30-1 C.J. Hernandez
5 — Kupuna 8-1 Reylu Gutierrez
6 — Epicenter 7-5 Joel Rosario
7 — Pioneer of Medina 5-1 Tyler Gaffalione
8 — Galt 8-1 Junior Alvarado
9 — Rattle N Roll 6-1 Brian Hernandez, Jr.

Race Information

Date | Post Time: Saturday | 6:44 p.m. ET

Distance | Surface: 1 3/16 miles | Dirt

Location: Fair Grounds Race Course | New Orleans


Louisiana Derby Top Picks & Longshots

Andie Biancone

No. 6 Epicenter (7-5): I have been high on this horse ever since his efforts in the Gun Runner Stakes, and he certainly seems to be improving with time.

Epicenter is nearly an even-money, morning-line favorite, and there’s honestly not much I can say against him in term of his form. Not only has he shown early speed and ability to set fast fractions, but he has proven he can carry that speed over the distance.

Even physically, Epicenter has always been standout among his competition, dwarfing the field even in his earlier career starts. The only things I can see compromising this horse’s chances are if he contends in an early speed duel and burns out or if his form has plateaued from his previous run into this race.

Otherwise, Epicenter is a strong contender.

Epicenter is the ML favorite in the G2 Louisiana Derby under @JRosarioJockey looking to repeat his Risen Star performance🏆

Give us your fair odds for Epicenter to win the Louisiana Derby ⬇️pic.twitter.com/PsxfLrTQLN

— Xpressbet (@Xpressbet) March 24, 2022

No. 9 Rattle N Roll (6-1): This horse didn’t fire much in the Fountain of Youth, but he certainly needed a race after the layoff and his late running style isn’t suited for the speed-favoring Gulfstream Park main track.

Rattle N Roll has been improving numbers wise race after race, yet has been crying for more distance. This 1 3/16-mile distance should be extremely advantageous to him since there will be a ton of early pace setup for him to come with a strong close down the stretch.

The only time Rattle N Roll completely underperformed was when he ran second time out at Saratoga Race Course, but what the form doesn’t tell you is his dealing with an injured eye, which completely eliminated his chances.

Other than that, Rattle N Roll seems to be full of try and has the ability to stretch out. Rattle N Roll also has quite the impressive work tab, consistently putting in 58-second, five-furlong breezes and done them with ease.

Zozos schooling in the ⁦@fairgroundsnola⁩ paddock for the G2 Louisiana Derby. ⁦@BlakeCox16⁩ ⁦@bradcoxracingpic.twitter.com/H0pQNZa6Fs

— Joaquin Jaime (@TVGJoaquin) March 24, 2022

Longshot — No. 2 Zozos (8-1): For a bit of a price, I think Zozos could be very sneaky in this bunch.

He has all the speed to get him into a good position, but has also shown he can sit off speed and draw away. Zozos broke his maiden in decent fashion, but proved his talent and versatility against winners when he sat off speed and drew off to win by 10 1/4 lengths in a recent race.

For a horse to win a 1 1/16-mile race by that big of a margin and do it sitting off early speed certainly speaks volumes about his potential.

The Louisiana Derby will be a definite test for Zozos, but he has been impressive so far and I’m willing to take a shot with him at a morning line price of 8-1 odds.

Watching this horse’s last race, Zozos has the potential to improve with added distance and I love the Brad Cox-Florent Geroux (trainer-jockey) pairing.

Jeremy Pond

UAE Derby Best Bets

$8 Win | Place | Show: No. 6 Combustion (5-1)

$5 Exacta: 6-11-13 over 4-6-7-8-9-11-13


Louisiana Derby Best Bets

$5 Win | Place | Show: No. 2 Zozos (8-1)

$5 Place | Show: No. 9 Rattle N Roll (6-1)

$4 Exacta: 2-6-9 over 2-3-5-6-7-9

$1 Trifecta: 2-6-9 over 2-3-5-6-7-9 over 2-3-5-6-7-8-9

.@BreedersCup Juvenile Fillies Winner ECHO ZULU will make her 2022 debut this Saturday in the Fairgrounds Oaks!

Live on-site coverage on @TVG with @ToddTVG @ScottTVG @TVGJoaquin & @IceColdExacta! Join us starting at 1PM ET / 10AM PT pic.twitter.com/jrurmKfCcv

— TVG (@TVG) March 24, 2022

Louisiana Derby Exotic Wagering

(Races 10-11)

Biancone’s Daily Double

Fair Grounds Oaks | Louisiana Derby

1-2 | 2-3-6-9

Pond’s Daily Double

Fair Grounds Oaks | Louisiana Derby

1-2-3 | 2-3-6-9

Epicenter leads the field for Saturday's G2 Louisiana Derby!

100 points on the line on the #RoadtotheDerby and you can catch each moment on @TVG with live on-site coverage on Saturday! Race 12, 6:44PM ET. pic.twitter.com/qXTUToR413

— TVG (@TVG) March 23, 2022

Road to the 2022 Kentucky Derby

DATE STAKES RACE (GRADE) TRACK (POINTS) OR WINNER
Jan. 22 Lecomte (Grade III) Call Me Midnight
Jan. 29 Southwest (III) Newgrange
Feb. 5 Holy Bull (III) White Abarrio
Feb. 5 Withers (III) Early Voting
Feb. 6 Robert B. Lewis (III) Messier
Feb. 12 Sam F. Davis (III) Classic Causeway
Feb. 12 El Camino Real Derby Blackadder
Feb. 19 Risen Star (III) Epicenter
Feb. 26 Rebel (II) Un Ojo
March 5 John Battaglia Memorial Tiz the Bomb
March 5 Fountain of Youth (II) Simplification
March 5 San Felipe (II) Forbidden Kingdom
March 5 Gotham (II) Morello
March 12 Tampa Bay Derby (II) Classic Causeway
March 26 UAE Derby Meydan Racecourse (100-40-20-10)
March 26 Louisiana Derby (II) Louisiana Downs (100-40-20-10)
March 27 Sunland Derby (III) Sunland Park (50-20-10-5)
April 2 Florida Derby (I) Gulfstream Park (100-40-20-10)
April 2 Arkansas Derby (I) Oaklawn Park (100-40-20-10)
April 2 Jeff Ruby Steaks (III) Turfway Park (100-40-20-10)
April 9 Wood Memorial (II) Aqueduct (100-40-20-10)
April 9 Blue Grass (II) Keeneland (100-40-20-10)
April 9 Santa Anita Derby (I) Santa Anita Park (100-40-20-10)
April 16 Lexington (III) Keeneland (100-40-20-10)

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