The Kentucky Derby is edging closer, and the betting markets are changing weekly based on the performances of some of the leading three-year-olds in the prep races.
There is still just under two months to go before the start of the Triple Crown season this year, which means that there is still time to get value in the future wager markets available with the leading sportsbooks. You can check the future wager pools here: https://www.twinspires.com/kentuckyderby/future-wager-pool
But, out of the horses that are eligible to run this year, who are considered excellent chances for the Kentucky Derby in 2022?
Steven Asmussen trains Epicenter, who is looking set to line up in the Kentucky Derby already this year after strong performances in prep races. We may not have yet seen the very best from this three-year-old, which could make him an extremely intriguing selection. Epicenter made his first start of 2022 at Fair Grounds in January, as he finished second in the G3 Lecomte behind Call Me Midnight.
That was run over 1 1/16 miles, before he was stepped up for the G2 Risen Star. His performance over that extended distance was nothing short of excellent, as held off challenges from Smile Happy and Zandon to land the top prize.
There is little doubt that the most significant market mover throughout the season has been Forbidden Kingdom for trainer Richard Mandella. This three-year-old could easily be favourite in the betting by the time that we get to Churchill Downs, as we will see him one final time at the Santa Anita Derby next month. The three-year-old landed the G2 San Vicente Stakes in January over seven furlongs at Santa Anita in commanding fashion.
But, still, some questioned whether he could make the step up in distance. Those doubts were answered emphatically in the G2 San Felipe, as he ran going away over 1 1/16 miles. A talented field behind him had no answer for his speed, and if maintaining that form, he could be extremely difficult to oppose for the Kentucky Derby.
Another big market mover over the past couple of weeks has been Simplification for trainer Antonio Sano. The three-year-old landed the Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream Park in January over one mile, and looked ready for the step up in trip when second behind White Abarrio over 1 1/16 miles in the G3 Holy Bull.
We last saw this three-year-old winning very impressively in the G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at the start of March over the 1 1/16 mile distance. He has already come up against some talented opponents, but his record speaks for itself. Further progression is extremely likely before his run in the G1 Florida Derby in April, and it could be exciting to see how he competes in Grade 1 company.
Tiz The Bomb
Tiz The Bomb remains one of the most intriguing horses in the betting for the Kentucky Derby this year. He wan in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last year, and finished second behind Modern Games. His first attempt on the dirt in stakes company didn’t go according to plan, as he finished a distant seventh in the G2 Holy Bull.
Nonetheless, market support remains strong for the three-year-old as he looked much improved on a synthetic surface in early March when winning the John Battaglia Memorial in fine fashion.
There still appears to be money around the Kenneth McPeek-trained horse, but connections have also explored the chances of the three-year-old traveling over to the United Kingdom and a run in the Epsom Derby. However, Phoenix Thoroughbred LTD are currently banned from making entries in the UK.