2022 Kentucky Derby Exacta and Trifecta Picks and Predictions

2022 Kentucky Derby exacta and trifecta picks and predictions.
2022 Kentucky Derby exacta and trifecta picks and predictions. / Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky Derby wagers include everything that you can normally bet on a horse race. Though many players still enjoy classic win, place, and show bets, a full field of 20 horses means you can make a lucrative payout in exacta and trifecta bets. 

Keep in mind that horse racing is a game of information. Whether you bet on the races once a year or all the time, the best information will help you make the best choice. By signing up with TVG, new players can get their first win-type wager on a single horse RISK FREE up to $200!

Types of Exotic Bets:

  • EXACTA: You pick who you think will finish 1st and 2nd in order
  • TRIFECTA: You pick who you think will finish 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in order
  • SUPERFECTA: You pick who you think will finish 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in order.
  • You can BOX these bets, meaning the horses can finish in any order. However, this makes your bet more expensive as you are placing multiple bets in one.
  • You can also make a WHEEL or KEY bet where you have one horse selected to win, and multiple to come in second or third. You'd use this when you're sure of the winner, but not as confident about everyone else.

Top Kentucky Derby Horse Picks

Choosing the right horses in the Kentucky Derby requires thinking about their prep race records, running styles, and pedigrees. 

1. Cyberknife

Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Florent Geroux

2. Epicenter

Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Joel Rosario

3. Zandon

Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: Flavien Prat

4. Taiba

Trainer: Tim Yakteen
Jockey: Mike Smith

5. Barber Road

Trainer: John Ortiz
Jockey: Reylu Gutierrez

6. Crown Pride

Trainer: Koichi Shintani
Jockey: Christophe Lemaire

7. Charge It

Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Luis Saez

Kentucky Derby Exotic Bet Tips

The 2022 Kentucky Derby drew an overflow field: 20 horses in the main group, and two more on the Also-Eligible list. Those AE horses will only draw in if there is a scratch before betting opens at 9:00 a.m. EDT on Friday, May 6, when on-track wagering opens for the Derby.

The pace is a crucial question to consider. Speed holds fairly well in many editions of the Kentucky Derby. However, it can fall apart: even in the points era, in 2013 when deep closer Orb flew over the wire first. In 2022, many speed horses entered the Derby—and there was an extra injection of pace when Classic Causeway’s connections decided to go to the Derby after all.

What this means is that the race will be tough for a horse who cannot win without making the front. However, a horse with a stalking gear that lets him relax just off the speed could still get a good trip. And, those midpack-to-closing types will have a great chance, especially to rally in for pieces of the exotics.

Focus on these contenders when betting exactas, trifectas, and superfectas in the 2022 Kentucky Derby:

Odds Favorites to Consider in Exactas, Trifectas, and Superfectas

The Kentucky Derby has been mostly formful during the point era: six of the nine winners since 2013 have been favored in the betting pool, and no betting favorite has placed worse than fourth. However, longer shots have won the last three editions of the Kentucky Derby, making it more attractive than ever to look for a price.

  • Cyberknife: Cyberknife’s career started out a little slower than others, and he was left with something to prove after running off the board in the Lecomte (G3). However, he has gotten very good at the right time. An allowance victory got his confidence back, and then he won the Arkansas Derby (G1) strongly. He has the tactical speed to carve out a good trip, and his pedigree is strong top and bottom for the mile and a quarter of the Kentucky Derby distance. Even if his 20-1 morning line is probably longer than his price will actually be, a price of 12-1 is both fair and realistic, and he may even be closer to 15-1 when all is said and done. He is an improving horse who shapes as a strong contender at a great price.
  • Epicenter: This son of Not This Time did everything right on the way to the Kentucky Derby: he won three of the four prep races on the Louisiana spur of the Kentucky Derby trail. The one he lost, the Lecomte (G3), he still finished a close second despite being close to a pace that fell apart for a closer. He has been able to hold his form as the distances got longer, and he has the tactical speed that appeals for a Kentucky Derby contender. Even though it has been a long time since his final prep (the Louisiana Derby (G2)) has produced a Kentucky Derby winner, horses like Gun Runner and Hot Rod Charlie have given it an improving profile in recent years. Combine that with his talent, and he may well prove the goods on the First Saturday in May.
  • Zandon: Zandon showed promise at two, missing by a nose in the nine-furlong Remsen (G2) last November. He picked up where he left off in the Derby prep season. He finished third behind Derby prospects Epicenter and Smile Happy in the Risen Star (G2), and then turned the tables on Smile Happy when he won the Blue Grass (G1) with complete authority. The biggest question about Zandon is his running style, as he has shaped as a closer in recent races. However, he will get some pace to chase in the Kentucky Derby, and he has an excellent chance to hit the board.
  • Taiba: The Santa Anita Derby (G1) has been one of the key preps in recent years, and Taiba won this year’s edition of it impressively. His inexperience is a question: Taiba has only raced twice leading into the Kentucky Derby. However, both of his races have come back extremely fast, he left the more experienced Messier a clear second best, and he has shown the tactical speed that plays so well in the Kentucky Derby. With a decent post, the right running style, and the right prep pedigree, Taiba could keep his star rising in Kentucky. 

Longshots to Consider in Exactas, Trifectas, and Superfectas

When playing exactas, trifectas, and superfectas, it pays to find longshots in the Kentucky Derby. After all, at least one longshot hits the board most years, and some years more than one does. Finding the most promising longshot can help you cash those exotics on Derby day.

  • Barber Road: Though Barber Road is not yet a stakes winner, he has been one of the most consistent horses on the Derby trail. Though he was a claimer earlier in his career, he has absolutely proven his stakes quality. He has hit the board in five consecutive stakes, including all four points preps at Oaklawn Park. Barber Road is versatile, able to run good races from multiple race shapes, and even as the races get longer he has held his form. This ability to show up no matter what makes him a great candidate for an underneath share in Kentucky.
  • Crown Pride: A major theme of top international race meets over the last year has been the dominance of Japanese horses. The horses come from different barns, they race in different divisions, and they just keep showing up. Crown Pride showed he could travel when he shipped from Japan to Dubai to win the UAE Derby (G2) in confident fashion over Summer Is Tomorrow. Though the waters get significantly deeper in Kentucky, he has reasons he can succeed even beyond Japan’s recent track record. He can get a good tracking trip from a middle draw, he has perhaps the best ten-furlong pedigree of anyone in the Kentucky Derby, and he finished smartly in the 1 3/16-mile UAE Derby.
  • Charge It: This has a career record of 3 starts, 1 win, and 2 second place finishes. He comes into the Derby with 40 total Kentucky Derby points, placing 8th in the leaderboard. His notable finishes in the lead-up to the Kentucky Derby include a second place finish in the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park in April 2022. In the Florida Derby he tracked in range and ended strong to finish second behind the more experienced White Abarrio. If he shows growth on Derby Day, he could be very interesting for a two-time Derby-winning barn.

Remember, information is power. Between now and the Kentucky Derby, it pays to keep an eye on the news. Most of the horses will be doing well: that is to be expected, as this is a Grade 1 race and they should be coming into it well. But, if it comes out that things are not going as expected between now and the race, it may be a good time to focus on others.

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