Assessing The Early Favorites For The Kentucky Derby

The 2022 Kentucky Derby will take place on May 7th, 2022 and is the 148th edition of one of the world’s longest-running horse races. It’s not only a popular horse race and betting event in the USA but also across the globe – including betting in Australia. Similar to the popularity of the Melbourne Cup or Cox Plate, Australians enjoy placing bets on the Derby through their favourite betting sites. 

The Derby is a key target for three-year-old Thoroughbreds and the race is the highlight of the Kentucky Derby Festival in Louisville. With the 2022 Kentucky Derby just a few weeks away, let’s discuss and preview some of the early favourites. Here’s a look at the top challengers for the Kentucky Derby on May 7, 2022.

Smile Happy: Starting with the top favourite, Smile Happy is locally trained by Ken McPeek and he’s attempting to train his first Derby winner in his 38 years of experience. In November, Smile Happy defeated some of the top runners in this race, including Classic Causeway and White Abarrio. He should be well-rested for this race as well, having only run in the Risen Star Stakes in February.

Forbidden Kingdom: Mostly races in Southern California and there are question marks on whether he’s suited to the distance. A key lead-up race to watch will be the Santa Anita Derby in early April.

Epicenter: Comes off a victory in the Risen Star Stakes, known as one of the best prep races for the Derby. Trainer Steve Asmussen is yet to win this race in 23 attempts but Epicenter looks like one of his best chances yet.

Morello: There are question marks about Morello’s ability over the distance but comes into the Derby with winning career form – 3 for 3. A key lead-up race will be the Wood Memorial.

Mo Donegal: Struggled in the Holy Bull Stakes recently with a third-place finish but previously beat Zandon in the Remsen Stakes. He comes from a winning pedigree and will feature in the Wood Memorial in April before the Derby.

Simplification: Didn’t start well in the Holy Bull Stakes but rallied to finish 2nd behind White Abarrio. However, he improved in the Foundation of Youth Stakes with an impressive victory down the straight. He’ll race against White Abarrio again on April 2 in the Florida Derby.

Zandon: Should be right in the thick of this race after finishing second in the Remsen Stakes and placing third in the Risen Star Stakes against Epicenter and Smile Happy. Make sure to watch his next race at the Blue Grass Stakes on April 9.

White Abarrio: Won the Holy Bull Stakes recently by 4 and a half lengths. It has a great pedigree and will run in the Florida Derby on April 2 before taking on the field in the Kentucky.

Classic Causeway: Has proven to be a trustworthy runner for punters and has shown promise in lesser class racing. This is a tougher race but winning form is the key and we’ll see how he goes in the Blue Grass Stakes in early April.