Horse Racing Nation expert picks: 2022 Kentucky Derby

Horse Racing Nation expert picks: 2022 Kentucky Derby
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

After eight months of points preps, the road to the Kentucky Derby finally ends Saturday at Churchill Downs. The race goes off as the 12th of the day, at 6:57 p.m. EDT. The Horse Racing Nation team has been following the class every step of the way.

This is who the experts will be playing in the Run for the Roses. If you are still trying to pick your Derby horse, make sure to see our free past performances, courtesy of Brisnet.


Andrew Capone, Who's Got the Action?

Winner: #1 Mo Donegal

On the board: No. 13 Simplification

Long shot I like: No. 19 Zozos

Analysis: Simplification is a must-use underneath. The horse has a lot of value and if he runs back to his Fountain of Youth race he could pick up a nice piece.

Sara Elbadwi, Horse Racing Nation

Winner: No. 10 Zandon

On the board: No. 1 Mo Donegal

Long shot I Like: No. 8 Charge It

Analysis: Perhaps the 10, 10 Upstart-sired Oaks/Derby double can occur if No. 10 Zandon gives trainer Chad Brown his first Kentucky Derby winner. He's shown he can overcome troubled trips to at least show up every race. No. 8 Charge It has a world of talent and would need to put things all together, but the more seasoned Todd Pletcher trainee No. 1 Mo Donegal can't be discounted either.

Jerrod Horak, Best Bets

Winner: No. 10 Zandon

On the board: No. 3 Epicenter

Long shot I like: No. 1 Mo Donegal

Analysis: Zandon is really the only Derby entrant to overcome anything in a points race. He rallied through traffic to decisively win the Blue Grass despite a lack of pace. He is training forwardly and seems to be peaking at the right time. Epicenter is the inside speed and has a strong foundation, and Mo Donegal can run all day and might be able to land a share.

Victor Ryan, Horse Racing Nation

Winner: No. 6 Messier

On the board: No. 3 Epicenter, No. 8 Charge It

Long shot I like: No. 13 Simplification

Analysis: Messier appears to check all the boxes of a Derby winner, and the morning line suggests he'll be no better than the third choice in the wagering. I'll play him to win and key in the exotics with Epicenter and the long shots Simplification and Charge It.

Rowan Ward, Horse Racing Nation

Winner: No. 16 Cyberknife

On the board: No. 3 Epicenter, No. 12 Taiba

Long shot I like: No. 14 Barber Road

Analysis: Cyberknife is improving at the right time, has the tactical speed to carve out a trip, and has an excellent pedigree for the stretch out to a mile and a quarter. Epicenter has the strongest prep-race resume, and the stalking trip he worked out in the Louisiana Derby (G2) gives him options in Kentucky. Zandon's closing style more often hits the board in the Kentucky Derby than wins it, though he is coming into the race the right way after a decisive Blue Grass (G1) win. Barber Road does not shape as a win candidate, but looks just like the kind of long shot who can hit the board, given his consistency no wonder the shape of trip he gets.

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