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2022 Kentucky Derby Betting Guide

Adam Kenny for Bookies.com

Adam Kenny  | 11 mins

2022 Kentucky Derby Betting Guide

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Where and When is the 2022 Kentucky Derby?

The Kentucky Derby takes place at its traditional venue on its traditional day in 2022. The first leg of the Triple Crown takes place every year at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May – this year on May 7th. It would be a pretty rare occurrence for the Kentucky Derby to start at its scheduled post time, but it is due to begin at 6:57pm (ET). Expect the 2022 Kentucky Derby field to be on their way down to the gates around then and the race to start a few minutes after that time.

Let's take a closer look at where to bet, what to bet, how to bet and which horses to use your free bets on in the 2022 Kentucky Derby.

Kentucky Derby Odds

US horse racing, like racing in many other countries, gives horses the same post position, or gate or draw, as their racecard number. Horse number 1 will be in gate 1, horse 2 in gate 2, etc. This plays a big part in the Kentucky Derby odds, as a favorable draw can have an influence on a horse's chances.

Below, we've broken down the Kentucky Derby field and the chances for each of the horses. We've also listed the Kentucky Derby odds beside each runner, which are correct at the time of publish.

Kentucky Derby Field

1. Mo Donegal (11/1) – Has a hard-fought victory over Zandon on his resume. Should run a solid race but not a strong win candidate.

2. Happy Jack (66/1) – Hasn't finished within 10 lengths of the winner since a successful debut. No chance.

3. Epicenter (5/1) – Impressive winner of the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds but only two winners of that race have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby.

4. Summer Is Tomorrow (66/1) – Second in the UAE Derby was a big step up for him. Needs another one to have a chance.

5. Smile Happy (20/1) – Beaten favorite last time when nothing went right. A better trip at Churchill Downs and his run style could see him run a big race.

6. Messier (10/1) – Never out of the first two and has two Grade 3 wins. Behind Taiba last time and probably will be again.

7. Crown Pride (33/1) – Japanese winner of the UAE Derby. Bit of an unknown quantity, but winners of that race tend to flop in this.

8. Charge It (14/1) – Showed his inexperience last time when 2nd in the Florida Derby on just his third start. Could still have improvement in him.

9. Tiz the Bomb (25/1) – Has run some big races, including Grade 3 and Grade 2 wins but unlikely to take this.

10. Zandon (9/2) Beaten by Mo Donegal and Epicenter earlier this season, but impressive winner of the Blue Grass Stakes last time. Big chance.

11. Pioneer of Medina (33/1) – Has a few lengths to find in order to trouble some of these.

12. Taiba (8/1) – Won Santa Anita Derby on just his second start. Hugely inexperienced but an exciting horse.

13. Simplification (25/1) – Game run when beaten favorite for the Florida Derby. Unlikely to reverse form with White Abarrio.

14. Barber Road (40/1) – No win in last five runs and unlikely to end that streak in the Kentucky Derby.

15. White Abarrio (12/1) – Florida Derby winner. Six winners of that since 2001 have won the Kentucky Derby. Has a chance.

16. Cyberknife (20/1) – Won the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby last month. Interesting runner.

17. Classic Causeway (33/1) – Likes to race prominently, so post position is a problem. Long shot.

18. Tawny Port (33/1) – Won the Lexington Stakes last time but unlikely to feature prominently in this.

19. Zozos (33/1) – Unraced as a two-year-old. Three runs this year include a runner-up finish in the Louisiana Derby. Dark horse.

20. Ethereal Road (66/1) – Hasn't shown the level of form needed to compete in a race like this.

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Kentucky Derby Horses

It's easy to see why horses like Zandon and Epicenter are battling it out to be the 2022 Kentucky Derby favorite. They each boast some very strong form but are also opposable for different reasons.

The record of Louisiana Derby winners in the Kentucky Derby leaves a lot to be desired, which tempers expectations for Epicenter a little. Zandon, meanwhile, is worth taking on mostly because of his odds. He was very impressive last time in the Blue Grass Stakes, but he's been beaten by a couple of his Kentucky Derby rivals and is just too short to recommend backing.

The Blue Grass Stakes could provide the key to finding the winner of the Run For The Roses. Smile Happy was sent off favorite when behind Zandon last time and indeed when beaten by Epicenter in the run before that. He had a nightmare trip in the Blue Grass Stakes, being forced wide and getting a bump inside the quarter pole.

A smoother trip, a return to Churchill Downs where he won a Grade 2 in November and his 20/1 odds all make him an attractive looking bet for the Kentucky Derby. Yes, he has a couple of lengths to find, but it's not hard to see reasons why he might find them. Being around four times the price of the favorite represents huge value.

White Abarrio appreciated the step up to nine furlongs last time in the Florida Derby. That race has been a very reliable trial for the Kentucky Derby, and he looks like a nice each-way bet at around 12/1.

Zandon looks sure to run a big race, and the Kentucky Derby is usually run at a blistering gallop. That will suit his run style, and he should run on late to round out the 1-2-3.

Whether you choose to follow these picks or choose your own, be sure to check out our top horse racing betting sites for the best Kentucky Derby odds and betting markets.

How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby

To place a bet on the 2022 Kentucky Derby online, an account with a sports betting site is required. There are tons to choose from, which is why our team of experts has reviewed them to provide their insight into what you can expect.

Once you have opened your new betting account via Bookies.com and have decided on what you want to bet, placing a bet is straightforward. Most betting sites' bet slips are built in the same way – click on the odds listed beside your selection to add it to the bet slip, enter your stake, click to place your bet. Your bet confirmation will be displayed, and you can view your account history in the My Account section at any good sports betting site.

The range of Kentucky Derby betting markets will vary from site to site. Of course, you will find odds for the race winner, but the best horse racing betting sites will offer a bigger range of markets. This can include exotic bets like exactas (betting on the horses you think will finish first AND second in order), trifectas (similar to exactas, but betting on the first three home) the winning distance or a horse to finish in the first three. There will be a huge selection of betting markets on the day of the race.

Kentucky Derby Free Bets

Many of the best betting sites base their betting welcome offers around big events such as the Kentucky Derby. These new customer offers are often in the form of a free bet, usually matching or a percentage of the amount of your qualifying bet.

Deposit match bonus offers are also popular at betting sites. Instead of receiving a free bet based on your first stake, bonus funds are credited based on the amount of your first deposit. Free bet no deposit bonuses are similar, but the key is that they don't require a deposit to be made, as the name suggests. Instead, just open your account and receive your welcome bonus.

In some cases, a promo code is required at the time of opening your account, but this isn't always necessary. What is required, though, is signing up through a specific link in order to avail of a particular welcome bonus. Here at Bookies.com, you'll find only trusted, licensed sports betting sites, which offer the best betting offers around.

What Horses Have Won the Kentucky Derby?

One of the interesting things about the Kentucky Derby is that it's only open to three-year-olds. As such, champions don't get the opportunity to defend their crown. For some, the Kentucky Derby is a stepping stone to even bigger and better things. For others, it's the clear standout moment in their career and they can't seem to back it up. For a small few, the Kentucky Derby is the last time they see a track as they're whisked off to a career at stud.

The roll of honor that is the list of previous Kentucky Derby winners is a real mixed bag. Some of the most well-known horses of all time are on the list, like the mighty Secretariat, Seattle Slew and California Chrome.

But, for every household name to have won the Kentucky Derby, there's a little-known outsider who has caused a shock. In recent years, the likes of Country House (who was awarded the race after a stewards' inquiry), Mine That Bird and Giacomo have sprung massive shocks in the race, so finding value with your new customer betting offers can pay off in a big way.

How to watch the 2022 Kentucky Derby

The 2022 Kentucky Derby will be very well covered in the United States. Residents will be able to watch all the coverage from Churchill Downs on NBC, the USA Network and on the Peacock app.

For horse racing bettors outside of the US, it's likely that many of the best online sports betting sites will have live streaming available for the race. It's usually a requirement to have a funded balance or to have a bet on the event in order to watch the race. After all, it is generally called 'Bet & Watch'.

Sports betting sites with live streaming available will have this advertised on their site. We've listed some of the betting sites that are best for live streaming below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I bet on the Kentucky Derby online?

Yes, you can bet on the 2022 Kentucky Derby online. At Bookies.com, we've found the best horse racing betting sites. These have the best odds, best markets and best betting offers for the Kentucky Derby and other top horse racing events.

How early can you bet on the Kentucky Derby?

Ante post betting, otherwise known as futures betting, is available for the Kentucky Derby months before the race. The odds are more attractive, but if the selection doesn't line up in the race, the bet is a loser. Betting on the 2022 Kentucky Derby will be available until the race begins.

How do I place a bet on the Kentucky Derby?

Placing a bet on the Kentucky Derby is easy. First, choose the welcome offer you like as listed here on Bookies.com. Click on the offer to get to the betting site and open your account. Make your first deposit, choose your horse and place your bet.

What is the best bet for the Kentucky Derby?

Our team of horse racing experts provide the best horse racing bets for free on our website. These are updated every day for you to look through. Our shortlist for the 2022 Kentucky Derby consists of Smile Happy, White Abarrio and Zandon.

About the Author

Adam has worked in online betting for pretty much his entire adult life. Having spent over a decade working for some of the biggest online bookmakers in their operations and content teams, NFL and fantasy NFL are Adam's main focus, but there's always room for some golf, horse racing and soccer, particularly soccer card markets.