2022 Kentucky Derby Exotics Wagers

May 7th, 2022

The 148th running of the Kentucky Derby (G1) looks like an excellent wagering opportunity, as it often does, with a wide-open field going postward at Churchill Downs on Saturday. I have a top-three for the race and will construct some plays with the trio being prominent at the finish.

#3 Epicenter (7-2) didn't receive a great post draw, but the versatile colt has excellent gate presence, and I feel that the race will go through him. The Not This Time colt will be the one to catch if he catches a flier from the break, or he can track while always close and saving ground in the early going. Joel Rosario will have options going into the first turn.

I am also a big fan of Grade 2 victor #5 Smile Happy (20-1) for Kenny McPeek. The sophomore possesses a big turn of foot, and I think that both of his efforts in 2022 will have him primed for a huge run on Saturday. The son of Runhappy was superb in his lone prior try on the surface as a juvenile, and he has trained well over it as of late, as well.

#6 Messier (8-1) has the credentials to be favored in the tilt for Tim Yakteen. The consistently excellent son of Empire Maker has improved his Brisnet Speed number in every career performance, and his catalog page suggests that 1 1/4 miles will be right in his wheelhouse, too. The colt is certainly worth a win bet if he goes off at something resembling his morning-line number, in my opinion.

The aforementioned trio will be my selections for the multi-race plays, and I will be using them on top in the vertical exotics, as well. I have tabbed a few runners that are surely worth including underneath, too.

Blue Grass S. (G1) winner #10 Zandon (3-1) is a deserving favorite for Chad Brown. The Upstart colt owns a potent turn of foot, and he has room to improve while making his third run off the shelf. The Kentucky-bred will be formidable if he gets a clean voyage.

#19 Zozos (20-1), second in the Louisiana Derby (G2) while making his stakes debut, has a lot of upside for conditioner Brad Cox. The Munnings colt has pace and quality, and I feel that he will avoid trouble from the wide draw, too. The homebred is outrunning his pedigree.

#9 Tiz the Bomb (30-1) is full of ability for McPeek. The colt has been a standout on both turf and synthetic, and we have seen grassy runners perform well on the Churchill dirt in the past. The son of Hit It A Bomb will be a big price.

Wood Memorial S. (G2) star #1 Mo Donegal (10-1) is peaking at the right time for Todd Pletcher. The son of Uncle Mo will need some racing luck from the fence, and if he gets it, then the colt might be the one to hold off inside the final furlong. The bay defeated Early Voting last time out, and I would have sided with that one in the Derby if he opted to contest the event.

I omitted four major prep winners, including UAE Derby (G2) #7 Crown Pride (20-1), exciting Santa Anita Derby (G1) star #12 Taiba (12-1), Florida Derby (G1) victor #15 White Abarrio (10-1), and Arkansas Derby (G1) first-placer #16 Cyberknife (20-1), but you can’t use them all!

Derby Exotics Wagers ($200)

  • $10 exacta box 3,5,6 ($60)
  • $2 trifecta 3,5,6 with 3,5,6 with 1,3,5,6,9,10,19 ($60)
  • $1 superfecta 3 with 5,6 with 1,5,6,9,10,19 with 1,5,6,9,10,19 ($40)
  • $1 superfecta 5,6 with 3 with 1,5,6,9,10,19 with 1,5,6,9,10,19 ($40)

Good Luck!