The previous two months of horse racing has witnessed a handful of 2-year-olds gain attention and own some favorable odds by earning qualifying points in Kentucky and New York or through their success at maiden and allowance meetings across the country.
Smile Happy managed his second career success without defeat when jolting to victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs. Two weekends ago, Mo Donegal edged Zandon by a nose to claim Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct. Each colt earned 10 Derby qualifying points from their successful races.
The road to the 2022 Kentucky Derby is upon us, but as always, unpredictable outcomes and twists should be expected when contenders for the race will rise and fall throughout the prep races leading up to the event.
Although the available odds can dramatically change before the 2022 Kentucky Derby, effective use of gambling forums can keep you updated with the latest line movements and which horses are leading the pack to win the Derby.
Oddsmakers can often undervalue a horses potential chance of success, so hitting future wagers on the Kentucky Derby months in advance will sometimes provide lucrative betting opportunities.
Making predictions on the 20-horse field with a future wager can offer attractive returns and is undoubtedly a highlight of the Derby season. And with eager bookmakers releasing fixed-odds future markets on Derby 148 at Churchill Downs on May 7th, 2022, we’re taking a deeper dive into the horses and prices currently on offer.
Top-10 Kentucky Derby 2022 Winner Odds, As of Dec 16th, 2021:
Jack Christopher (16/1)
Slow Down Andy (20/1)
Echo Zulu (20/1)
Mo Donegal (20/1)
Smile Happy (25/1)
Giant Game (33/1)
2022 Kentucky Derby: Horses to Look Out For
Mo Donegal (20/1) and Zandon (25/1)
These pair of colt’s stem from well-known trainers Todd Pletcher (Mo Donegal) and Chad Brown (Zandon), and in a recent battle, they went head to head on Dec 4th in Remsen. A heated contest through the Aqueduct stretch ended with Mo Donegal taking a slight lead on the outside of his adversary. Mo Donegal took first place but not without controversy, as the stewards inquired due to the aggressive riding of jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.; however, despite the result standing, the NYRA suspended Ortiz for a period of four weeks.
When replaying the Remsen, a strong argument can be made for Zandon, who seemingly ran the stronger race after being caught three-wide on the first turn as Mo Donegal salvaged ground on the rail. Still, both colts ran a great race and, throughout the slow early fractions, ended with a strong finish when rallying from creeping positions in the Remsen.
Notably, Mo Donegal is the son of Uncle Mo, who has already bred a Kentucky Derby Champion in Nyquist during his young stud career. He’s also coming from a powerful bloodline for distance running on his mother’s side.
Zandon’s pedigree isn’t quite as impressive, but this didn’t seem to matter during the race. He does boast a handful of graded stakes winners from his dam’s extended bloodline, but nothing that would suggest a Derby winner is present.
Smile Happy (25/1)
Son of champion sprinter Runhappy, under the tutelage of Ken McPeek, is Smile Happy. A horse who’s been making himself known of recent.
At the Twin Spires on Nov 28th, he managed a 3 ¼ length score in the 1 1/16-mile Kentucky Jockey Stakes. Also, coming out of a 5 ½ length win at Keeneland on Oct 29th, he went three-wide through the backstretch in the Kentucky Jockey Club. Thanks to his jockey Corey Lanerie who was in fifth to then capitalize with an impressive rally. Smile Happy left Classic Causeway eating his dirt (another respected contender) to take the late lead with ease – and better yet, he appeared to have enough gas in the tank for another race.
Trainer McPeek, who also trains Rattle N Roll, the horse who blissfully won the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity race, said Smile Happy could set his sights on Derby prep at Oaklawn Park his next start. The female side of his family has produced the likes of Funny Cide, a 2003 Kentucky Derby winner. With that said, it’s sometimes hard to take a 25/1 horse sired by a sprinter, especially when they’re so far from the 8/1 odds he closed in at Churchill’s Pool.
There’s no denying that Smile Happy is one of the most impressive contenders to surface on the 2022 Derby Trail thus far; bettors should keep an eye on his winter progress!