The bracing uncertainties of there being no runaway favourite for this afternoon’s $3-million 2022 Kentucky Derby illuminate the robustness of the three-year-old Class of ‘22, as well as that of equine America, and that gives faithful Derby players many ways to cut the complex pie of their exotics. But there’s nonetheless a blistering race to be run to settle issues, and, gifted because the younger athletes could also be, precisely none of them has finished something like this earlier than — not at this distance, not amongst this variety of rivals, not earlier than this sort of crowd, and positively not confronted with this array of expertise. Usually, on race day at Churchill, the questions get shaved again a bit. This May, the questions are operating and reaching like a lot honeysuckle. Put it this fashion: When Mike Tirico opens the NBC protection at 2:30 p.m. Eastern right this moment, all people’s going to be on their toes.
Predictably, Zandon, the razor-thin morning line favourite, very a lot didn’t maintain his floor within the observe odds yesterday, sliding from 3-1 to 8-1, only a shade behind his rival Messier, three stalls to the within, at 7-1. Which meant, what once more, precisely? Well, not a lot, besides that Zandon was now equivocated within the observe hivemind with Mo Donegal, the alleged powerhouse “locomotive” on the rail, additionally at 8-1. Epicenter nonetheless has a beast of a put up place to beat, sliding from 7-2 to 5-1, which meant, within the often topsy-turvy language of the Churchill cash, he really clawed again up some sort of ladder to momentary co-top-favorite standing with… who else however the virtually fully unknown actor Taiba, the two-race, Bob-Baffert-trained Santa Anita phenom, additionally at 5-1.
Momentarily, anyway, Taiba’s the co-favorite. Run that by us once more, please? No two-race horse has received the Derby since…Leonatus, in 1883.
What this grand tumble tells us is first, that issues received’t keep this fashion right this moment as put up time does its loopy march, and second, there will likely be some very funky handicapping required for this Derby.
Note: Until put up time at 6:57 p.m. ET, we’ll rigorously replace the Churchill odds on this area. Before we name within the Bluegrass Wise Man to assist us by the maze of race day, right here’s the percentages refresher.
Post Position, Horse, Trainer, Jockey, (Morning Line), Live Odds
1. Mo Donegal, Todd Pletcher, Irad Ortiz Jr., (10-1), 8-1
2. Happy Jack, Doug O’Neill, Rafael Bejarano, (30-1), 21-1
3. Epicenter, Steve Asmussen, Joel Rosario, (7-2), 5-1
4. Summer Is Tomorrow, Bhupat Seemar, Mickael Barzalona, (30-1), 42-1
5. Smile Happy, Kenny McPeek, Corey Lanerie, (20-1), 14-1
6. Messier, Tim Yakteen, John Velazquez, (8-1), 7-1
7. Crown Pride, Koichi Shintani, Christophe Lemaire, (20-1), 17-1
8. Charge It, Todd Pletcher, Luis Saez, (20-1), 13-1
9. Tiz the Bomb, Kenny McPeek, Brian Hernandez Jr., (30-1), 25-1
10. Zandon, Chad Brown, Flavien Prat, (3-1), 8-1
11. Pioneer of Medina, Todd Pletcher, Joe Bravo, (30-1), 47-1
12. Taiba, Tim Yakteen, Mike Smith, (12-1), 5-1
13. Simplification, Antonio Sano, Jose Ortiz, (20-1), 40-1
14. Barber Road, John Ortiz, Reylu Gutierrez, (30-1), 40-1
15. White Abarrio, Saffie Joseph Jr., Tyler Gaffalione, (10-1), 11-1
16. Cyberknife, Brad Cox, Florent Geroux, (20-1), 14-1
17. Classic Causeway, Brian Lynch, Julien Leparoux, (30-1), 67-1
18. Tawny Port, Brad Cox, Ricardo Santana Jr., (30-1), 67-1
19. Zozos, Brad Cox, Manny Franco, (20-1), 39-1
20.Ethereal Road, D. Wayne Lukas, Luis Contreras, SCRATCH
21. Rich Strike, Eric Reed, Sonny Leon, (99-1), 99-1
(Source: Churchill Downs/May 7, 2022)
To assist us slash a path by this yr’s odds jungle, right here’s the ever-sharp Bluegrass Wise Man ™, reached trackside yesterday after the Oaks celebrations.
We began the week speaking about Taiba, whose inexperience makes him one of many extra entertaining entrance runners. Let’s go at him once more. You watched the cash discuss Friday. What occurred?
Bluegrass Wise Man ™: Calm down, dammit. Long solution to go to put up time. But to reply your query, it’s half what’s been taking place in coaching, half Santa Anita, and sure, half Baffert. But a very huge a part of this early shift is “Big Money” Mike (Smith). There is not any extra skilled jockey. Period. He’s a Hall-of-Famer for a motive. The motive is he can take a claimer and beat a million-dollar colt. Now he’s on a very good colt from Baffert. Big Money Mike has me frightened, okay? I used to be planning on “forgetting” Taiba in my exotics.
Bluegrass Wise Man ™: It’s attainable to fret about Big Money Mike, or his horse, with out altering each wager you make. In some type or style I’m going to wager Mo Donegal, Epicenter, Zandon, Crown Pride, Tawny Port and Cyberknife. I nonetheless like Cyberknife a little bit, and I’ve been listening to good issues concerning the Japanese horse Crown Pride, who I feel NBC will likely be doing one thing on throughout their broadcast. Likely a trifecta, with these 6. They didn’t faculty Crown Pride within the paddock and have been saved him on his Japanese regime. Different kind of coaching, may work.
I see Epicenter leaving himself with an excessive amount of to do to even hit the board, both as a result of he will get crushed, or as a result of the site visitors wastes a lot of his power threading by that he has nothing left previous the mile pole.
Bluegrass Wise Man ™: I see Epicenter being shut sufficient that he won’t have excuses if he will get away cleanly. You could possibly be proper that he will get crushed however I feel we’ve got the brand new 20 stall gate, which isn’t so long as the previous double gate. If he breaks clear and fast, he will likely be positive. On the rail, Mo Donegal may get slammed however he’ll go to the again.