Betting the Kentucky Derby is a ritual for a reason: it is the biggest field in any American horse race all year, and there are always great odds and payouts! The 2022 Kentucky Derby will be run on Saturday, May 7 at 1 1/4 miles on the Churchill Downs dirt. The winner receives the lion’s share of a $3 million purse, the iconic blanket of roses, and a place in horse racing history.
It is the most important betting race of the year, with the best trainers and jockeys, and 20 of the best three-year-old horses in the country. And, this is the place for free Kentucky Derby picks, and to find out the best places to bet the race online!
Betting the 2022 Kentucky Derby Online
You can bet the Kentucky Derby online from the comfort of your own home. It is convenient, and you won’t have to push through crowds or wait in line like you have to do at a track. We can help you select the best online sportsbook before the big race.
Many sportsbooks are offering special bonuses to 2022 Kentucky Derby bettors. Our reviews can help you choose the place that fits your betting style best, so make sure to read them and sign up for your account!
Kentucky Derby Field
This is the official field for the 2022 Kentucky Derby including post positions, trainers, and jockeys:
- Mo Donegal (Todd Pletcher/Irad Ortiz, Jr.) - 10-1
- Happy Jack (Doug O’Neill/Rafael Bejarano) - 30-1
- Epicenter (Steve Asmussen/Joel Rosario) - 7-2
- Summer Is Tomorrow (Bhupat Seemar/Mickael Barzalona) - 30-1
- Smile Happy (Ken McPeek/Corey Lanerie) - 20-1
- Messier (John Velazquez/Tim Yakteen) - 8-1
- Crown Pride (Koichi Shintani/Christophe Lemaire) - 20-1
- Charge It (Todd Pletcher/Luis Saez) - 20-1
- Tiz the Bomb (Ken McPeek/Brian Hernandez, Jr.) - 30-1
- Zandon (Chad Brown/Flavien Prat) - 3-1
- Pioneer of Medina (Todd Plecher/Joe Bravo) - 30-1
- Taiba (Tim Yakteen/Mike Smith) - 12-1
- Simplification (Antonio Sano/Jose Ortiz) - 20-1
- Barber Road (John Ortiz/Reylu Gutierrez) - 30-1
- White Abarrio (Saffie Joseph, Jr./Tyler Gaffalione) - 10-1
- Cyberknife (Brad Cox/Florent Geroux) - 20-1
- Classic Causeway (Brian Lynch/Julien Leparoux) - 30-1
- Tawny Port (Brad Cox/Ricardo Santana, Jr.) - 30-1
- Zozos (Brad Cox/Manuel Franco) - 20-1
- Ethereal Road (D. Wayne Lukas/Luis Contreras) - 30-1
- Rich Strike (Eric Reed/Sonny Leon) - 30-1 - ALSO ELIGIBLE
- Rattle N Roll (Ken McPeek/James Graham) - 30-1 - ALSO ELIGIBLE
Note that Rich Strike and Rattle N Roll are on the also-eligible list. They only draw into the race if there are one or two scratches (respectively) ahead of them before American racetrack betting opens at 9:00 a.m. Friday morning. If a horse scratches after that point, but before the race, no one gets in off the also-eligible list in their place.
These are the odds on the top-of-market competitors at major online sportsbooks:
Kentucky Derby Predictions
When picking a winner of the Kentucky Derby, one of the best Kentucky Derby handicapping tips to keep in mind is that the winner of the Kentucky Derby usually runs very well in their final prep race. It is best to pick a horse who has been a winner at age 3, and comes into the Derby on strong recent form, a first- or second-place finish in a major 100-point prep.
Seasoned horses usually win in the Kentucky Derby, as well. Even Curlin, one of the all-time greats, found the Kentucky Derby to be a bit too much in only his fourth career start. Having more experience helps a horse handle the large field and stay the mile and a half. Lighter-raced horses can finish underneath, but they don’t typically win.
Be sure to pay attention to Churchill Downs form as well. If a horse has run well at Churchill Downs, they are likely to run well at Churchill Downs again. If they have run poorly at Churchill Downs, it often suggests they do not like the track and will run poorly in the Derby.
Since the points system began in 2013, the first six winners were favorites, though longshots have had more luck in the last three years. However, favorites always do fairly well: no favorite has finished out of the superfecta since the beginning of the points system.
Kentucky Derby Best Bet
The best horse to bet in the Kentucky Derby is Cyberknife. Though he blossomed a little later than others, he put it all together when winning the Arkansas Derby (G1) with authority. He has the tactical speed that wins Kentucky Derbies, and his connections have shined in big races in recent years. Finally, his back form at Churchill Downs suggests he handles the track nicely.
Kentucky Derby Market Leaders
Epicenter was not named the morning line favorite but remains the leader in most Vegas markets. He was the leader of the Louisiana spur of the Derby train, running excellent races in all four points preps at Fair Grounds. He proved in the Louisiana Derby that he can be as effective rating as he can from on the lead, and he stayed strong as the distances increased.
Zandon, named the morning line favorite, won the Blue Grass (G1) convincingly and has gotten rave reviews for his pre-Derby workouts. However, his more recent races have had him well off the early pace, which is a running style that can hit the board in the Kentucky Derby but rarely gets a horse over the wire first. Between that and the Blue Grass’s poor recent form as a prep, demand value even though his form is good.
Taiba is the least experienced Kentucky Derby contender, with only two races. However, both of those races were extremely fast, and one of them came in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), which hias been the premier prep in recent years. His tactical speed could help him get an excellent trip, and jockey Mike Smith has excellent Kentucky Derby experience.
Kentucky Derby Longshots
Japanese horses have been better than ever in the world’s best races over the last year, and Crown Pride may continue that streak in the Kentucky Derby. He proved in the UAE Derby (G2) that he can ship and run well. He looked in that 1 3/16-mile race like he can do well going even longer, and has the pedigree to back it up. Finally, he should not have to drop too far off the pace, giving him a chance at a good trip.
Though it is tough to imagine Barber Road winning the Kentucky Derby, he has an excellent chance to fill out exotics. He has hit the board in five straight stakes, including all four points preps in Arkansas. Barber Road has run in to the money from multiple different race shapes, giving him excellent versatility that helps him in a big field. He is the horse who could make deeper exotics pay well.
Kentucky Derby Betting
Kentucky Derby Pick 6
Churchill Downs features seven other stakes on Kentucky Derby day, with the Kentucky Derby and five others being part of a Kentucky Derby Pick 6. This year, the Pick 6 includes the Pat Day Mile (G2), Derby City Distaff (G1), American Turf (G2), Churchill Downs (G1), Turf Classic (G1), and the Kentucky Derby (G1).
Other wagers on Kentucky Derby Day include exactas, trifectas, superfectas, the Super High Five (on the Kentucky Derby only), rolling Daily Double and Pick 3s, four Pick 4s, and four Pick 5s. You can also bet the Kentucky Oaks-Kentucky Derby double on Friday, by picking the winners of both the Derby and the Oaks.
Kentucky Derby Best Bets
These are the best plays for the 2022 Kentucky Derby:
- $30 Win: #16 Cyberknife
- $10 Place/Show: #7 Crown Pride
- $5 Exacta Key: #16 Cyberknife with #3 Epicenter, #7 Crown Pride, #10 Zandon
- $1 Trifecta Key: #16 Cyberknife with #3 Epicenter, #7 Crown Pride, #10 Zandon, #12 Taiba
- $1 Superfecta Key: #16 Cyberknife with #3 Epicenter, #7 Crown Pride, #10 Zandon, #12 Taiba, #14 Barber Road