April 14, 2024

Zandon favorite after Kentucky Derby draw

Zandon wins the Blue Grass Stakes (Photo by Coady Photography)

Blue Grass (G1) winner Zandon has been made the 3-1 morning-line favorite for the 2022 Kentucky Derby (G1) after getting gate 10 at the Monday post draw.

Connections of the Chad Brown trainee had to wait until the second half of the draw to discover they had picked up a barrier in the middle of the field, and this aided by some impressive training efforts convinced morning-line oddsmaker Mike Battaglia to put him at the top of the odds list.

Gate 10 is expected to suit Zandon, who is likely to find a spot midfield on the outside of horses for jockey Flavien Prat.

Louisiana Derby (G2) winner Epicenter, who many expected to be favorite, has been rated as 7-2 second pick. He was one of the last horses drawn for the Derby and will start from gate 3. It could potentially be hazardous but he has shown plenty of early speed and Joel Rosario should be able to find a spot on or near the early pace.

The only other horse rated in single-figure odds is Santa Anita Derby (G1) runner-up Messier, who will start from gate 6. He will be expected to get out of the gates quickly and be on or near the lead.

Of the other potential speed horses, UAE Derby (G2) runner-up Summer Is Tomorrow (30-1) drew immediately outside Epicenter in gate 4, Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner Classic Causeway (30-1) gate 17, and Zozos (20-1) will start from gate 19.

Horses expected to stalk the pace include Florida Derby winner White Abarrio (10-1) and runner-up Simplification (20-1), who start from gate 15 and 13, respectively, UAE Derby (G2) winner Crown Pride (20-1), who gets a nice spot at gate 7, and the inexperienced Santa Anita Derby winner Taiba (12-1), who should benefit from gate 12.

The most highly-regarded of the potential closers, Mo Donegal, is rated a 10-1 chance after drawing the rail post, meaning he’s likely to be midfield on the fence – similar to where he was placed when winning the Wood Memorial (G2) at his last start.

Longtime Kentucky Derby Future Wager favorite Smile Happy (20-1), who might also be midfield or worse, will probably benefit from barrier 5, from where the 10-time leading Churchill Downs rider Corey Lanerie will probably look for a rail-hugging run.

Post PositionHorseJockeyML Odds
1Mo DonegalIrad Ortiz, Jr.10-1
2Happy JackRafael Bejarano30-1
3EpicenterJoel Rosario7-2
4Summer is TomorrowMikael Barzalona30-1
5Smile HappyCorey Lanerie20-1
6MessierJohn Velazquez8-1
7Crown PrideChristophe Limarie20-1
8Charge ItManny Saez20-1
9Tiz the BombBrian Hernandez, Jr.30-1
10ZandonFlavien Prat3-1
11Pioneer of MedinaJoe Bravo30-1
12TaibaMike Smith12-1
13SimplificationJose Ortiz20-1
14Barber RoadReyliu Gutierrez30-1
15White AbarrioTyler Gaffalione10-1
16CyberknifeFlorent Geroux20-1
17Classic CausewayJulien Leparoux30-1
18Tawny PortRicardo Santana30-1
19ZozosManny Franco20-1
20Ethereal RoadLuis Contreras30-1
AERich StrikeSonny Leaone30-1
AERattle N RollJames Graham30-1