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Kentucky Derby 2022 live updates: Rich Strike wins in major upset

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Rich Strike, with Sonny Leon aboard, beats Epicenter, with Joel Rosario aboard.
Rich Strike, with jockey Sonny Leon aboard, finishes ahead of Epicenter, with Joel Rosario aboard, to win the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
(Mark Humphrey / Associated Press)

Rich Strike overcame 80-1 odds to win the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Here’s how the race unfolded.

Here’s what you need to know

Rich Strike’s win at the Kentucky Derby was truly historic

Rich Strike, with jockey Sonny Leon aboard, wins the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
(Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)

Rich Strike’s stunning 80-1 upset in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday provided the second-biggest payout in the history of the race.

Here’s a breakdown of Rich Strike’s accomplishments:

  • Rich Strike paid $163.60 to win. Donerail in 1913 had a higher payout at $184.90.
  • Rich Strike wasn’t even in the Kentucky Derby field until Friday. The Eric Reed-trained colt replaced the scratched Ethereal Road.
  • Rich Strike earned its team $1.86 million for the win — the second win of his career.
  • Rich Strike was purchased last year by RED TR-Racing LLC for $30,000.
Rich Strike (21) beats Epicenter (3) and Zandon (10) to win the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)
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Jim “Mattress Mac” McIngvale places his Kentucky Derby bet

Kentucky Derby entrant Epicenter works out in the rain at Churchill Downs on Tuesday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jim “Mattress Mac” McIngvale made Epicenter the favorite for the Kentucky Derby when he made at least a $1 million dollar bet on the horse trained by Steve Asmussen. After he placed the bet, the horse went from 5-1 to 9-2 and then to 4-1 in the win odds. He placed more than one bet on the colt.

The bet did not change the odds for Taiba (5-1), Messier (6-1) and Zandon (6-1).

It was part of a promotion for his Gallery Furniture store. If the favorite wins anyone who spent $3,000 on furniture will get a full refund. McIngvale would recoup the money by cashing the win bet. If the favorite does not win, there is no refund on the furniture and McIngvale is just out the money he bet.

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Final betting odds for the 148th Kentucky Derby

Fans stand at betting windows in the infield before the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
(Brynn Anderson / Associated Press)

With one big $4 million bet to come from Jim (Mattress Mack) McIngvale and already more than $31 million in the win pool, you could basically throw a large blanket over four horses. Epicenter ($4.141 million bet) and Taiba ($3.839 million) are at 5-1 and Messier ($3.402 million) and Zandon ($3.295 million) are at 6-1.

Whatever happens, the win payoff will be nice. No short prices here.

Here’s a look at the current odds, as of around 6 p.m. in Louisville. Less than an hour to go. Post is 6:57 p.m. (3:57 p.m. PDT). Numbers before horse’s name is the saddlecloth number.

  1. Mo Donegal 9-1
  2. Happy Jack 20-1
  3. Epicenter 5-1
  4. Summer Is Tomorrow 32-1
  5. Smile Happy 15-1
  6. Messier 6-1
  7. Crown Pride 17-1
  8. Charge It 15-1
  9. Tiz the Bomb 27-1
  10. Zandon 6-1
  11. Pioneer of Medina 52-1
  12. Taiba 5-1
  13. Simplification 35-1
  14. Barber Road 53-1
  15. White Abarrio 13-1
  16. Cyberknife 13-1
  17. Classic Causeway 76-1
  18. Tawny Port 75-1
  19. Zozos 42-1
  20. Ethereal Road Scratched
  21. Rich Strike 84-1
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No bias here: Kentucky Derby set for ‘fair racetrack’ running conditions

The track is groomed between races before the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — One of the things that handicappers always want to know is how is the track playing. Is it favoring speed? Or do closers have an advantage? Is the rail dead?

Veteran handicapper Ed DeRosa of the website Horseracingnation.com analyzed all the races on the dirt so far with only the Kentucky Derby to go.

“Based on results so far, it’s difficult to discern any type of bias ahead of the world’s most prestigious horse race,” DeRosa wrote.

However, if he had to determine some kind of bias, this is what he wrote: “I’d give a slight confidence boost to those who are backing closers, as the winners from races 4, 5, and 7 came from the clouds. Race 4 was the only two-turn race, and a closer won, but the second and third-place finishers ran on and close the pace, respectively.”

DeRosa concluded his analysis succinctly.

“In other words, this is a fair racetrack.”

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Epicenter widens lead as Kentucky Derby betting favorite

A fan poses in front of a wall of roses at Churchill Downs before the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
(Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press)

As the win pool crossed over the $20-million mark, Epicenter is starting to widen the margin bet between he and Taiba. Epicenter has $2.609 million bet on him compared with $2.523 million on Taiba. There is still Jim (Mattress Mack) McIngvale to plunk down as much as $4 million to come shortly after 6 p.m.

There were two big movers in the last hour. Simplification went from 41-1 to 35-1. And lightly regarded Rich Strike went from 96-1 to 91-1.

Here’s a look at the current odds, as of around 5 p.m. in Louisville. Post is 6:57 p.m., meaning it’s about two hours to the starting gates opening. The number before a horse’s name is the saddlecloth number.

  1. Mo Donegal 9-1
  2. Happy Jack 19-1
  3. Epicenter 5-1
  4. Summer Is Tomorrow 31-1
  5. Smile Happy 15-1
  6. Messier 6-1
  7. Crown Pride 17-1
  8. Charge It 14-1
  9. Tiz the Bomb 26-1
  10. Zandon 7-1
  11. Pioneer of Medina 50-1
  12. Taiba 5-1
  13. Simplification 35-1
  14. Barber Road 51-1
  15. White Abarrio 13-1
  16. Cyberknife 12-1
  17. Classic Causeway 76-1
  18. Tawny Port 77-1
  19. Zozos 45-1
  20. Ethereal Road Scratched
  21. Rich Strike 91-1
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Know your Kentucky Derby horses: Rich Strike (Post 20)

Kentucky Derby entrant Rich Strike works out at Churchill Downs Friday.
Kentucky Derby entrant Rich Strike works out at Churchill Downs on Friday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Trainer: Eric Reed

Jockey: Sonny Leon

Owner: RED TR-Racing

Purchase price: homebred

Lifetime record: 7-1-0-3

Winnings: $111,289

How he got here: Third in the Jeff Ruby Steaks and fourth in the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes

Qualifying points: 21

Morning line: 30-1

Comment: This horse made the field on Friday morning when Ethereal Road scratched out of the race. This horse has run his last three races on the synthetic surface. He hasn’t won since October of last year. He’s got a couple of things going against him: He’s a closer and he’s in the 20 post. He started his career with trainer Joe Sharp before he was bought out of a claiming race. As an also eligible, he will carry the saddlecloth of No. 21.

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Know your Kentucky Derby horses: Zozos (Post 19)

Kentucky Derby entrant Zozos works out at Churchill Downs on Wednesday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Trainer: Brad Cox

Jockey: Manny Franco

Owner: Barry and Joni Butzow

Purchase price: Homebred

Lifetime record: 3-2-1-0

Winnings: $291,200

How he got here: Second in the Louisiana Derby

Qualifying points: 40

Morning line: 20-1

Comment: He’s a versatile horse as far as style, but coming out of the 19 probably is enough to keep him out of the winner’s circle. He’s lightly raced with a win in his maiden debut, then an allowance, and ending with a second in the Louisiana Derby to Epicenter. Jockey Florent Geroux got off this horse to ride Cyberknife. Might be the best of the three Brad Cox horses. This is Manny Franco’s fourth Derby ride; notably he rode Tiz the Law to a second in the Derby two years ago.

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Epicenter pulls slightly ahead in race to be bettors’ Derby favorite

Kentucky Derby entrant Epicenter works out at Churchill Downs Thursday
Kentucky Derby entrant Epicenter works out at Churchill Downs on Thursday in Louisville, Ky.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

In a neck-and-neck battle, the Kentucky Derby favorite switched back to Epicenter, having the most money bet on him. So, far Epicenter has had $2.109 million bet on him, and Taiba has $2.076 million bet on him. Both are listed at 5-1. Perhaps the bigger news is that late entrant Rich Strike has finally drifted below 99-1 to 96-1. If a horse is listed at 99-1, it usually means the horse is at even higher odds, but most race track oddsboards don’t have a space for a third number.

Happy Jack, Summer Is Tomorrow, Tiz the Bomb, Pioneer of Medina, Cyberknife, Tawny Point and Zozos all moved to slightly lower odds.

Here’s a look at the current odds, as of around 4 p.m. in Louisville. Post is 6:57 p.m., meaning it’s about three hours to the starting gates opening. The numbers before horse’s name is the saddlecloth number.

  1. Mo Donegal 9-1
  2. Happy Jack 19-1
  3. Epicenter 5-1
  4. Summer Is Tomorrow 32-1
  5. Smile Happy 15-1
  6. Messier 6-1
  7. Crown Pride 17-1
  8. Charge It 14-1
  9. Tiz the Bomb 26-1
  10. Zandon 7-1
  11. Pioneer of Medina 51-1
  12. Taiba 5-1
  13. Simplification 41-1
  14. Barber Road 50-1
  15. White Abarrio 13-1
  16. Cyberknife 12-1
  17. Classic Causeway 77-1
  18. Tawny Port 76-1
  19. Zozos 44-1
  20. Ethereal Road Scratched
  21. Rich Strike 96-1
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Know your Kentucky Derby horses: Tawny Port (Post 18)

Kentucky Derby entrant Tawny Port works out at Churchill Downs on Friday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Trainer: Brad Cox

Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

Owner: Peachtree Stable

Purchase price: $430,000

Lifetime record: 5-3-1-0

Winnings: $427,000

How he got here: Won the Lexington Stakes and second in the Jeff Ruby Steaks

Qualifying points: 60

Morning line: 30-1

Comment: He has spent three-fifths of his races on the synthetic surface at Turfway Park. He did win on the dirt in his last start in the Lexington, where trainer Brad Cox thought he might need a few more points to qualify for the Derby. His best race was probably a second to Tiz The Bomb in the Jeff Ruby Steaks. His other dirt start was a fifth in the Risen Star at Fair Grounds. This will be Ricardo Santana Jr.’s first start on the colt. The combination of being a closer and the far outside post likely compromises his chance of winning this race.

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Southern California horses struggle during Kentucky Derby undercard races

Fans watch the sixth race of the day at Churchill Downs.
Fans watch the sixth race of the day at Churchill Downs on Saturday in Louisville, Ky.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky Derby Day undercard is one of the best of the year, much like the undercards at the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. So, it’s not unusual to see Southern California horses there if for no other reason than to keep the Derby horses company on the flight and in the barn.

But Saturday wasn’t a particularly fruitful day for Santa Anita-based horses. Dream Shake, who last year was third in the Santa Anita Derby and second in the Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs, finished fifth in the $160,000 Knicks Go Overnight Stakes. The Peter Eurton trainee was leading mid-stretch under Flavien Prat, but couldn’t hold on and was passed by a wave of horses. Longshot Three Technique won the race and paid $75.60 to win.

In the Grade 2 $500,000 Pat Day Mile, Doppelganger, running for Tim Yakteen, finished sixth and never threatened in the race. It was won by the one-time Derby hopeful Jack Christopher. He was the favorite and paid $3.40 to win.

The best performance on the undercard was by the Phil D’Amato-trained Balnikhov, who finished second in the Grade 2 $500,000 American Turf. The 3-year-old gelding got crushed at the start and then was forced wide in the stretch by the eventual winner, Stolen Base, who paid $13.20 to win.

Trainer Doug O’Neill had Sargent Lee entered in a maiden race, but the horse scratched out.

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Know your Kentucky Derby horses: Classic Causeway (Post 17)

Classic Causeway takes part in a training run on Thursday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Trainer: Brian Lynch

Jockey: Julian Leparoux

Owner: Kentucky West Racing and Clarke M. Cooper

Purchase price: homebred

Lifetime record: 6-3-1-1

Winnings: $521,100

How he got here: Won the Tampa Bay Derby and Sam F. Davis Stakes, second in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and third in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity.

Qualifying points: 66

Morning line: 30-1

Comment: After a disastrous 11th in the Florida Derby, trainer Brian Lynch said the horse would not be coming to the Kentucky Derby. But yet the horse shipped and next thing you know the owners wanted him in. So, here he is. He seems to win when he gets an easy lead, such as in the Tampa Bay Derby. But in the Florida Derby, he had a contested lead and just gave up entering the far turn. It would be a surprise if they tried a different running style with him for this race.

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Know your Kentucky Derby horses: Cyberknife (Post 16)

Kentucky Derby entrant Cyberknife works out at Churchill Downs on Thursday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Trainer: Brad Cox

Jockey: Florent Geroux

Owner: Gold Square

Purchase price: $400,000

Lifetime record: 6-3-2-0

Winnings: $860,000

How he got here: Won the Arkansas Derby

Qualifying points: 100

Morning line: 20-1

Comment: He is the first of the three Brad Cox horses in the race, all of which drew on the outside. Cox is last year’s winner of the Derby, even though it didn’t happen for nine months after the race when Mandaloun was elevated from second. Cyberknife has the distinction of winning two maiden races, although in the first one at Churchill Downs he was disqualified to second. His future seemed clouded after a sixth in the Lecomte at Fair Grounds but then he came back and won an allowance, where he might have started to figure things out. His next race was the win in the Arkansas Derby, beating Barber Road by 2 ¾ lengths.

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Know your Kentucky Derby horses: White Abarrio (Post 15)

Kentucky Derby entrant White Abarrio works out at Churchill Downs on Tuesday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Trainer: Saffie Joseph, Jr.

Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Owner: C2 Racing Stable LLC and La Milagrosa Stable

Purchase price: $40,000

Lifetime record: 5-4-0-1

Winnings: $823,650

How he got here: First in Florida Derby and Holy Bull Stakes, third in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes

Qualifying points: 112

Morning line: 10-1

Comment: The Florida Derby has been a springboard to winning the Kentucky Derby 15 times. You can count Nashua, Northern Dancer, Alydar, Spectacular Bid and Holy Bull among them. But lately, all you’ve got were Nyquist, who was really a California horse, and Always Dreaming. Many are questioning if White Abarrio will bring glory back to the Florida Derby this year by winning in Louisville. He does have a race over the Churchill Downs track, a third in the Kentucky Jockey Club. It’s the only race he’s lost. He has beaten several of the second tier of horses in the Derby but not faced the upper echelon. Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. has started one horse in the Kentucky Derby, Ny Traffic, who finished eighth in 2020.

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Classic Causeway makes biggest move as Derby betting leaders remain steady

Kentucky Derby entrant Classic Causeway works out at Churchill Downs
Kentucky Derby entrant Classic Causeway works out at Churchill Downs on Tuesday in Louisville, Ky.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Things haven’t changed much in the mutuel betting pool for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. Both Taiba and Epicenter are listed at 5-1 with Taiba having a slight lead in money wagered on him. Taiba has had $1.694 million bet on him compared with $1.692 million bet on Epicenter. The total win pool is at $13.417 million. That total does not include the possible $4 million that Jim (Mattress Mack) McIngvale plans to bet on who he thinks will be the favorite. It’s part of a furniture store promotion.

The biggest move of the day, although not significant, was by Classic Causeway, who went from 80-1 to 75-1. Crown Pride went from 19-1 to 17-1.

Here’s a look at the current odds, as of around 3 p.m. in Louisville. Post is 6:57 p.m., meaning it’s about four hours to the starting gates opening. Numbers before horse’s name are the saddlecloth numbers.

  1. Mo Donegal 8-1
  2. Happy Jack 20-1
  3. Epicenter 5-1
  4. Summer Is Tomorrow 33-1
  5. Smile Happy 15-1
  6. Messier 6-1
  7. Crown Pride 17-1
  8. Charge It 14-1
  9. Tiz the Bomb 27-1
  10. Zandon 7-1
  11. Pioneer of Medina 52-1
  12. Taiba 5-1
  13. Simplification 41-1
  14. Barber Road 50-1
  15. White Abarrio 13-1
  16. Cyberknife 13-1
  17. Classic Causeway 75-1
  18. Tawny Port 77-1
  19. Zozos 48-1
  20. Ethereal Road Scratched
  21. Rich Strike 99-1
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Mattress Mack preps to place his big Kentucky Derby bet

James "Mattress Mack" McIngvale stands in his Houston furniture store on April 25, 2003.
James “Mattress Mack” McIngvale in his Houston furniture store in 2003.
(Matthew Stockman / Getty Images)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Horse racing is full of characters, and few are bigger than James “Mattress Mack” McIngvale. He owns the Houston-based retailer Gallery Furniture. At this time of year, he runs a promotion that promises if the favorite wins the Kentucky Derby, you get your furniture purchase of more than $3,000 for “free, free, free.”

Here’s how he makes it work. He tries to figure out who the favorite will be and then plunks down a couple million on that horse, so that if the horse wins he gets a return that covers the loss tied to the free furniture.

“The great thing about the Kentucky Derby is the favorite it’s likely going to be 3-1 or 4-1,” McIngvale said at Churchill Downs on Saturday. “While in football you have to bet 100 to win 150. The Kentucky Derby offers a really good value for this promotion. I’ve just got to pick the favorite because if I pick a horse that’s not the favorite and the favorite wins, I’m out both ways.”

Of course, McIngvale has a lot to say about who is the favorite because of the size of his wager.

“I’m going to bet between $2-4 million shortly after 6 o’clock. Hopefully that will cement the favorite. People ask me who I’m going to pick. I’m going to try and pick the winner,” he said. “I haven’t put anything down yet because the odds are so close among the top three. I’ve kind of got to wait and see where the pool goes.”

McIngvale said he likes Zandon, but he wasn’t in the top three at this time. But his bet could push that horse over the top.

The 71-year-old has poured a lot of money into racing while trying to promote his former racehorse, now stallion, Runhappy. You can see signage for the horse in a lot of race tracks, including Santa Anita. A horse sired by Runhappy, Smile Happy, is in the Kentucky Derby but is considered a long shot.

Last year, McIngvale bet on Essential Quality in the Kentucky Derby, making him the favorite. The colt didn’t win. He did a similar promotion during the NCAA basketball tournament and a lot of people got some free furniture and he did pretty well in his futures pool bet.

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Know your Kentucky Derby horses: Barber Road (Post 14)

Kentucky Derby entrant Barber Road works out at Churchill Downs on Tuesday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Trainer: John Ortiz

Jockey: Rey Gutierrez

Owner: WSS Racing

Purchase price: $15,000

Lifetime record: 8-2-4-1

Winnings: $650,720

How he got here: Second in the Arkansas Derby, Rebel, Southwest and Smarty Jones Stakes

Qualifying points: 58

Morning line: 30-1

Comment: Barber Road finished second in a weaker than normal Arkansas Derby. He hasn’t won this year but did win a $30,000 allowance at Churchill Downs last November. But, that was as a 2-year-old and it was in a sprint. At this distance, he’ll need to be a lot closer as it’s tough for closers to win the Derby. This will be the first Kentucky Derby for both trainer John Ortiz and jockey Rey Gutierrez. Still, it’s pretty impressive to get a $15,000 purchase to the first Saturday in May.

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Know your Kentucky Derby horses: Simplification (Post 13)

Kentucky Derby entrant Simplification works out at Churchill Downs on Friday.
(Brynn Anderson / Associated Press)

Trainer: Antonio Sano

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Owner: Tami Bobo

Purchase price: $50,000

Lifetime record: 7-3-1-2

Winnings: $515,350

How he got here: Won the Fountain of Youth Stakes, second in Holy Bull and third in the Florida Derby

Qualifying points: 74

Morning line: 20-1

Comment: This will be the Florida-bred’s first race out of Florida. He had gate trouble in the Holy Bull but won the Fountain of Youth in a race where horses clipped heels in back of him and eliminated two from competition. However, Simplification was the favorite in the race so it probably didn’t matter. It earned him enough points to get in the Kentucky Derby, so trainer Antonio Sano used the Florida Derby to try and change his style. He finished third behind White Abarrio and Charge It. Sano’s story is perhaps the most interesting in the race because he was kidnapped twice while working in Venezuela. This is his second Derby, having come to Louisville with Gunnevera in 2017.

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Know your Kentucky Derby horses: Taiba (Post 12)

Kentucky Derby entrant Taiba works out at Churchill Downs on Tuesday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Trainer: Tim Yakteen

Jockey: Mike Smith

Owner: Zedan Racing Stables

Purchase price: $1.7 million

Lifetime record: 2-2-0-0

Winnings: $490,200

How he got here: Won the Santa Anita Derby

Qualifying points: 100

Morning line: 12-1

Comment: On paper, he’s the fastest horse in the race, but all the talk is about his lack of experience. If he wins, he’ll be the first horse since 1883 to win the race after only two starts. That’s quite the mountain to climb. His lack of experience is countered by having the most experienced jockey in Mike Smith, who won the Triple Crown aboard Justify. Much like Messier, he was in the Bob Baffert barn, but was ineligible to gain points as long as he was trained by Baffert. So, he was moved to former Baffert assistant Tim Yakteen’s barn. He had to finish first or second in the Santa Anita Derby to qualify and he won the race by 2 ¼ lengths. He is owned by Amr Zedan, who also owned last year’s disqualified winner Medina Spirit. Yakteen and racing manager Gary Young did not want to run him the Santa Anita Derby by Zedan overruled them. He’s got a great post and a great gate jockey, so it would not be a surprise to see him go to near the front and rate for most of the race. Then everyone will learn how big a factor talent is as opposed to experience.

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Taiba takes lead in amount of money bet at Kentucky Derby

A race fan looks at his wagering tickets
A race fan looks at his wagering tickets for the first race of the day at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Epicenter and Taiba technically stayed at 5-1, the same as they have been all day, but for the first time Taiba has passed Epicenter in amount of money bet. Taiba has collected $1.365 million on wagering and Epicenter is at $1.359 million. Total win pool betting is starting to approach $11 million. Two horses dropped two points in the odds, Pioneer of Medina (51-1) and Barber Road (49-1).

Here’s a look at the current odds, as of around 2 p.m. in Louisville. Post is 6:57 p.m., meaning it’s about five hours to the starting gates opening. The number before the horse’s name is the saddlecloth number.

  1. Mo Donegal 8-1
  2. Happy Jack 21-1
  3. Epicenter 5-1
  4. Summer Is Tomorrow 33-1
  5. Smile Happy 15-1
  6. Messier 6-1
  7. Crown Pride 19-1
  8. Charge It 13-1
  9. Tiz the Bomb 27-1
  10. Zandon 7-1
  11. Pioneer of Medina 51-1
  12. Taiba 5-1
  13. Simplification 42-1
  14. Barber Road 49-1
  15. White Abarrio 13-1
  16. Cyberknife 12-1
  17. Classic Causeway 80-1
  18. Tawny Port 77-1
  19. Zozos 45-1
  20. Ethereal Road Scratched
  21. Rich Strike 99-1
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Know your Kentucky Derby horses: Pioneer of Medina (Post 11)

Kentucky Derby entrant Pioneer of Medina works out at Churchill Downs on Thursday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Joe Bravo

Owner: Sumaya U.S. Stable

Purchase price: $485,000

Lifetime record: 6-2-1-2

Winnings: $181,350

How he got here: Third in the Louisiana Derby and fourth in the Risen Star

Qualifying points: 25

Morning line: 30-1

Comment: This is the third of the three Todd Pletcher horses. Pioneer of Medina has never won a stakes race and gets a new jockey in Joe Bravo. The veteran jockey doesn’t have as much Derby experience as you might think, having raced in the Derby three times. They are taking the blinkers off the horse, which is always a sign they haven’t quite figured out how to maximize his performance. He did get loose before the start of the Louisiana Derby but was corralled and finished third behind Epicenter and Zozos. He has the second least qualifying points of any horse in the race.

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Know your Kentucky Derby horses: Zandon (Post 10)

Kentucky Derby entrant Zandon works out at Churchill Downs on Thursday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Trainer: Chad Brown

Jockey: Flavien Prat

Owner: Jeff Drown

Purchase price: $170,000

Lifetime record: 4-2-1-1

Winnings: $713,000

How he got here: Won the Blue Grass Stakes, second in the Remsen and third in the Risen Star.

Qualifying points: 114

Morning line: 3-1

Comment: It was a mild surprise when Zandon was chosen as the morning-line favorite over Epicenter, but folks on the backstretch are starting to agree with that assessment. He’s training great and looking even better. Chad Brown, who has gained incredible success as a turf trainer, has never won the Kentucky Derby in six tries. What makes Zandon a little different is that he is a closer, the kind of horse that generally doesn’t win the Derby. But, he’s not a deep closer, so you can probably expect to see him midpack for the start of the race and needs to be on or near the lead with a furlong to go. His last three races have all been 1 1/8 miles, so distance should not be a problem. He did lose to Mo Donegal in the Remsen and Epicenter in the Risen Star, but he was impressive with his tactical speed in winning the Blue Grass. Former California jockey Flavien Prat has been hot since coming to the Midwest and is looking for his first crossing-the-wire on top win in the Derby. He was the winning jockey in 2019 when Maximum Security was disqualified and Country House was elevated to be the winner. This horse is likely in the exacta and most probably in the trifecta.

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Know your Kentucky Derby horses: Tiz The Bomb (Post 9)

Kentucky Derby entrant Tiz The Bomb works out at Churchill Downs on Wednesday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Trainer: Kenny McPeek

Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.

Owner: Magdalena Racing

Purchase price: $330,000

Lifetime record: 8-5-1-0

Winnings: $1,044,401

How he got here: Won the Jeff Ruby Steaks and John Battaglia Memorial

Qualifying points: 110

Morning line: 30-1

Comment: This horse is one of the more interesting because most of his success has come on the turf or a synthetic surface. His last two races, both wins, came over the synthetic at Turfway Park. Two of his other wins came on the turf and his first win, at Ellis Park, was a race that was taken off the turf and moved to the dirt. So, what’s he doing in here? The last horse to go from the synthetic at Turfway to the Kentucky Derby winner’s circle was Animal Kingdom in 2011. In his only dirt race this year, Tiz The Bomb finished seventh in the Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park. He is one of only two horses that has won more than $1 million.

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Messier gains ground in latest Kentucky Derby betting odds

Kentucky Derby entrant Messier works out at Churchill Downs Wednesday
Kentucky Derby entrant Messier works out at Churchill Downs on Wednesday in Louisville, Ky.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Epicenter and Taiba stayed at 5-1 as the card plodded along to the Kentucky Derby. Epicenter led Taiba in money bet with $1.071 million to Taiba’s $1.018. Around $8.359 million is in the win pool. Messier is starting to close in, though, dropping to 6-1 from 7-1. Cyberknife picked up some favortism dropping to 12-1 from 13-1.

Here’s a look at the current odds, as of around 1 p.m. in Louisville. Post is 6:57 p.m., meaning it’s about six hours to the starting gates opening. Numbers before horse’s name is the saddlecloth number.

  1. Mo Donegal 8-1
  2. Happy Jack 21-1
  3. Epicenter 5-1
  4. Summer Is Tomorrow 33-1
  5. Smile Happy 14-1
  6. Messier 6-1
  7. Crown Pride 18-1
  8. Charge It 13-1
  9. Tiz the Bomb 26-1
  10. Zandon 7-1
  11. Pioneer of Medina 49-1
  12. Taiba 5-1
  13. Simplification 42-1
  14. Barber Road 47-1
  15. White Abarrio 12-1
  16. Cyberknife 12-1
  17. Classic Causeway 80-1
  18. Tawny Port 76-1
  19. Zozos 44-1
  20. Ethereal Road Scratched
  21. Rich Strike 99-1
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Who is Tim Yakteen, besides the guy training Bob Baffert’s horses at Kentucky Derby?

Horse trainer Tim Yakteen watches horses work out at Churchill Downs on Wednesday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Tim Yakteen, by his own admission, has been handed a lottery ticket. Two lottery tickets, in fact. But collecting on them is only part of the dilemma. He also deserves to get credit if he cashes them.

Yakteen was given possession of two outstanding 3-year-old colts and told to do two things in six weeks — get them to the Kentucky Derby and then win it. He took care of the first part when Taiba and Messier finished first and second in the Santa Anita Derby. He’ll find out about the second part on Saturday.

Yakteen took over the horses from Bob Baffert when the hall of fame trainer was banned for two years by Churchill Downs and then suspended for 90 days by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. It was the result of a medication positive on last year’s Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, since disqualified. The cases are in litigation.

In the minds of some, however, Baffert will get the credit if the horses win and Yakteen will get the blame if they lose.

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Know your Kentucky Derby horses: Charge It (Post 8)

Kentucky Derby entrant Charge It works out at Churchill Downs on Wednesday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Luis Saez

Owner: Whisper Hill Farm

Purchase price: Homebred

Lifetime record: 3-1-2-0

Winnings: $230,400

How he got here: Second in the Florida Derby

Qualifying points: 40

Morning line: 20-1

Comment: This is a good colt but is he developed enough to win the Kentucky Derby? He has had only three races, breaking his maiden second time out and then running second in the Florida Derby despite a troubled trip. This is one of three Todd Pletcher horses. Pletcher has won the Kentucky Derby twice (Super Saver 2010, Always Dreaming 2017) in 59 starts. He’s being mentioned as a “wise guy” (professional gamblers) kind of horse but the likelihood is he might be better suited for the Belmont, where his sire, Tapit, has produced four Belmont winners including last year with Essential Quality.

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Know your Kentucky Derby horses: Crown Pride (Post 7)

Kentucky Derby entrant Crown Pride works out at Churchill Downs on Tuesday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Trainer: Koichi Shintani

Jockey: Christophe Lemaire

Owner: Teruya Yoshida

Purchase price: Homebred

Lifetime record: 4-3-0-0

Winnings: $734,569

How he got here: Won the UAE Derby

Qualifying points: 100

Morning line: 20-1

Comment: You would normally throw out the winner of the UAE Derby given its 0 for 16 history of non-Kentucky Derby winning horses. But Japanese racing is undergoing a renaissance. They won five of the nine races on Dubai World Cup day and two Breeders’ Cup races. So, he’s got that going for him. He seems to like the track with two bullet workouts since arriving. Still, you are asking a lot of a horse to ship from Dubai to Kentucky and run six weeks later. Not lost on handicappers is this year’s UAE Derby was the slowest in years. A Japanese horse will one day win the Kentucky Derby, but the guess is this isn’t the one.

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Kentucky Derby weather: Churchill Downs should be rated fast later today

The track is groomed between races before the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby
The track is groomed between races before the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The track at Churchill Downs for Saturday’s is improving after intermittent rain on Friday and overnight into Saturday. There was water visible in spots along the rail during the first few races. The video board listed the track as sloppy for the first and second races, but the Equibase charts referred to the surface as wet fast. By the fourth race, the video board said the track was good (one step down from fast), while Equibase upgraded the surface to fast.

With rain chances low the rest of the day and temperatures in the high 50s, the track will most certainly be rated as fast by all by the time the Kentucky Derby goes off as the 12th race. The sun started to peek out during the fourth race.

The turf course has been listed as firm all day.

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Betting odds starting to settle about seven hours before Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby entrant Taiba works out at Churchill Downs Wednesday
Kentucky Derby entrant Taiba is a favorite among bettors seven hours before the Kentucky Derby.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Epicenter and Taiba are still the co-favorites at 5-1 as odds are starting to settle in for the day with $6.6 million in the win pool for the Kentucky Derby. Epicenter has had about $858,000 bet on him, while Taiba has around $810,000 in wagering. Everyone pretty much stayed the same with only incremental moves. Tiz the Bom clicked down one to 26-1 and Zozos dropped to 43-1. On the other side, Pioneer of Medina went to 49-1, Simplification is now 42-1 and Classic Causeway went to 80-1.

Here’s a look at the current odds, as of around noon in Louisville. Post is 6:57 p.m., meaning it’s about seven hours to the starting gates opening. Numbers before horse’s name is the saddlecloth number.

  1. Mo Donegal 8-1
  2. Happy Jack 21-1
  3. Epicenter 5-1
  4. Summer Is Tomorrow 33-1
  5. Smile Happy 14-1
  6. Messier 7-1
  7. Crown Pride 18-1
  8. Charge It 13-1
  9. Tiz the Bomb 26-1
  10. Zandon 7-1
  11. Pioneer of Medina 49-1
  12. Taiba 5-1
  13. Simplification 42-1
  14. Barber Road 46-1
  15. White Abarrio 12-1
  16. Cyberknife 13-1
  17. Classic Causeway 80-1
  18. Tawny Port 76-1
  19. Zozos 43-1
  20. Ethereal Road Scratched
  21. Rich Strike 99-1
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Know your Kentucky Derby horses: Messier (Post 6)

Kentucky Derby entrant Messier works out at Churchill Downs on Wednesday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Trainer: Tim Yakteen

Jockey: John Velazquez

Owners: SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Golconda Stable, Siena Farm, Waves Edge Capital, Catherine Donovan, Robert E. Masterson and Jay A. Schoenfarber

Purchase price: $475,000

Lifetime record: 6-3-3-0

Winnings: $435,600

How he got here: Second in the Santa Anita Handicap

Qualifying points: 40

Morning line: 8-1

Comment: Messier is in the unique position of having more ownership groups than he does races. And will for a couple of more races. He is certainly not to be overlooked. His second in the Santa Anita Derby could have been a byproduct of not having raced for a little more than two months. He battled Forbidden Kingdom on the lead until Kingdom gave it up, but then Taiba came and got Messier in deep stretch. He would have had 54 points going into the Santa Anita Derby, the result of winning the Robert Lewis and a second in the Los Alamitos Futurity. But, because he was running for Bob Baffert, he wasn’t eligible for any Derby qualifying points. If he didn’t finish at least second in the Santa Anita Derby he wouldn’t be in Louisville. Trainer Tim Yakteen reports he’s been training great and he’ll have three-time Derby winner John Velazquez aboard. Johnny V will likely decide if he wants to take him to the front or take up a stalking position and save him for the end.

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Know your Kentucky Derby horses: Smile Happy (Post 5)

Kentucky Derby entrant Smile Happy works out at Churchill Downs on Tuesday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Trainer: Kenny McPeek

Jockey: Corey Lanerie

Owners: Lucky Seven Stable

Purchase price: $185,000

Lifetime record: 4-2-2-0

Winnings: $549,810

How he got here: Win in the Kentucky Jockey Club and second in the Risen Star and Blue Grass Stakes

Qualifying points: 70

Morning line: 20-1

Comment: Expectations were very high for this colt when he won his first two races as a 2-year-old, one of them the Kentucky Jockey Club over the same Churchill Downs surface. But he hasn’t won as a 3-year-old, finishing second in the Risen Star and Blue Grass. You can’t go to a race track without seeing signage for his sire, Runhappy, who was raced by Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale. You’ll see McIngvale all over the television as he has promised to bet $4 million on the favorite at the Derby, once he figures out who it is. Don’t get caught up in the win at Churchill Downs because there are no Derby prep races for 3-year-olds at the track. He might be a better fit for the Preakness.

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Amr Zedan is back at Kentucky Derby after a year of extreme turmoil

Horse trainer Bob Baffert and Medina Spirit owner Amr Zedan celebrate after winning the Kentucky Derby last year.
Horse trainer Bob Baffert and Medina Spirit owner Amr Zedan celebrate after winning the Kentucky Derby last year. The joyous times didn’t last long for Baffert and Zedan.
(Andy Lyons / Getty Images)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Few would blame Amr Zedan if he gave up on horse racing. One day he’s the winning owner of the Kentucky Derby. A week later he’s facing the disqualification of his horse. Seven months later his horse dies. And, amid all this, his trainer is banned for two years from Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby.

But yet, he is back at Churchill Downs with a different trainer and a horse named Taiba, who is drawing some buzz if for no other reason than having raced only two times. It’s also a horse his new trainer and racing manager didn’t want to run in the Santa Anita Derby.

“I walk in with no ill feelings toward Churchill about anything,” Zedan said from his home in Jordan before his scheduled arrival in Louisville on Thursday night. “Horses are a major part of my nature and my modus operandi is to fly at a higher altitude. Let the chips fall where they may. Focus and keep walking.”

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Know your Kentucky Derby horses: Summer Is Tomorrow (Post 4)

Kentucky Derby entrant Summer Is Tomorrow works out at Churchill Downs on Wednesday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Trainer: Bhupat Seemar

Jockey: Mickael Barzalona

Owners: Michael Hillary Burke and Negar Burke

Purchase price: $169,600

Lifetime record: 7-2-3-0

Winnings: $267,606

How he got here: Second in UAE Derby

Qualifying points: 40

Morning line: 30-1

Comment: For a horse with very little chance of winning, he’ll play a major role in how it sets up, all at the start. He’s basically a sprinter and most assuredly will go to the front and depending on who goes with him could help decide who is there at the end. If he runs very fast fractions, and brings one of the favorites with him, it could compromise the horse’s chances. He was run down in the stretch by Crown Pride in the UAE Derby, a race that is a sixteenth-of-a-mile shorter. This is the first race out of the UAE for the Kentucky-bred horse.

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Epicenter and Taiba remain the co-favorites in latest Kentucky Derby betting

Epicenter and Taiba remain the co-favorites at 5-1 in early betting on the Kentucky Derby.

Technically, Epicenter is a slight favorite, with about $696,000 having been bet on him, compared with $645,000 on Taiba. The biggest move in the last hour was Summer Is Tomorrow, going from 42-1 to 33-1. This horse will have a big impact on the race as he is expected to be the early pace and might bring some of the favorites with him, which could compromise them down the stretch.

Big movers the other way, getting higher odds were Barber Road (40-1 to 46-1), Classic Causeway (67-1 to 79), Tawny Port (67-1 to 76-1) and Zozos (39-1 to 44-1).

Here’s a look at the current odds, as of around 11 a.m. in Louisville. Post is 6:57 p.m., meaning it’s about eight hours to the starting gates opening. Numbers before horse’s name is the post position.

  1. Mo Donegal 8-1
  2. Happy Jack 21-1
  3. Epicenter 5-1
  4. Summer Is Tomorrow 33-1
  5. Smile Happy 14-1
  6. Messier 7-1
  7. Crown Pride 18-1
  8. Charge It 13-1
  9. Tiz the Bomb 27-1
  10. Zandon 7-1
  11. Pioneer of Medina 48-1
  12. Taiba 5-1
  13. Simplification 41-1
  14. Barber Road 46-1
  15. White Abarrio 12-1
  16. Cyberknife 13-1
  17. Classic Causeway 79-1
  18. Tawny Port 76-1
  19. Zozos 44-1
  20. Ethereal Road Scratched
  21. Rich Strike 99-1
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Wayne Lukas is feel good story of week after winning Kentucky Oaks

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas watches workouts at Belmont Park
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas rides along the track while watching workouts at Belmont Park on June 6, 2018, in Elmont, N.Y.
(Associated Press)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — No matter who wins the Kentucky Derby, the feel good story of the week will be 86-year-old Wayne Lukas winning the Kentucky Oaks, the filly version of the Derby.

Secret Oath took the lead at the top of the stretch and held off favored Nest to win by 2 lengths. It was a record-tying fifth Oaks win for Lukas, who hadn’t won the race since 1990.

At the postrace news conference, Lukas was asked at this point in his career what it meant to win the Oaks.

“Every one of these — you know, when you’re 86, going to be 87 in a few months, you know that there are not a lot of them in front of you yet,” Lukas said. “And I’m still getting up the same as I did when I was 40 and still on that pony every morning. And we got good 2‑year‑olds. So, I just want to get up and have a Secret Oath or something to look forward to when I get to the barn every day.

“I always say at clinics when you have passion for anything, you eliminate the excuses. When you got passion for something, you’ll stay up all night, go without food, drive, sleep, whatever to get where you want to go. And when you have these fillies that show up in your life, like this one or a colt, it’s such an incentive and drive for me.”

Lukas broke up the room when he explained why his horse was overlooked by morning line maker Mike Battaglia. She was the fourth morning-line choice at 6-1. The bettors sent her off at 9-2.

“You know, here’s the thing, she comes out of Arkansas,” Lukas said. “But now the morning line comes out on Monday. And Mike Battaglia has been doing this for years. So, here’s how that works. Mike Battaglia was born in a stall over at Lexington, so he has to automatically take the Ashland winner and make it the favorite.

“Then he goes to the second-place horse, and he’s asked to please some farm that he worked on as a hot walker as a kid. That’s the second choice.

“Then the third choice he has to pick somebody that he went to school with and hung out with at Malone’s bar and then that’s the third choice. Now the fourth choice we get to Secret Oath. That’s how that works.”

Secret Oath came out of the race in good condition. A decision hasn’t been made whether she will run against the boys in the Preakness or go against fillies in the Black Eyed Susan.

Lukas does not have a Kentucky Derby horse, as Ethereal Road scratched out of the race Friday morning.

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Know your Kentucky Derby horses: Epicenter (Post 3)

Kentucky Derby entrant Epicenter works out in the rain at Churchill Downs on Tuesday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds

Purchase price: $260,000

Lifetime record: 6-4-1-0

Winnings: $1,010,639

How he got here: Winner of the Louisiana Derby, Risen Star Stakes and Gun Runner Stakes and second in the Lecomte Stakes.

Qualifying points: 164

Morning line: 7-2

Comment: He was the presumptive morning-line favorite until linesmaker Mike Battaglia gave it to Zandon, but not by much. The Louisiana Derby has been a big factor of late with four of the top five finishers in last year’s race came out of that race. And, two of the last three winners came out of Fair Grounds, although both Country House and Mandaloun won by disqualification. Epicenter beat Zandon in the Risen Star two races back. The big negative on this horse is the post position. He received the worst draw of all the top contenders, which might force his hand to go to the lead maybe earlier than he hoped. Steve Asmussen, the all-time leading trainer in wins, is 0 for 23 in this race.

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Know your Kentucky Derby horses: Happy Jack (Post 2)

Kentucky Derby entrant Happy Jack works out at Churchill Downs on Tuesday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Trainer: Doug O’Neill

Jockey: Rafael Bejarano

Owner: Calumet Farm

Purchase price: Homebred

Lifetime record: 4-1-0-2

Winnings: $182,200

How he got here: Third in Santa Anita and San Felipe Stakes

Qualifying points: 30

Morning line: 30-1

Comment: He won his maiden race but has stayed off the top spot in his next three races. It’s difficult to see him winning but he certainly has a shot in the superfecta. His late running style is not always conducive. He was a late entry because he needed a defection to get in the field. Trainer Doug O’Neill knows how to get a horse to the winner’s circle on the first Saturday in May, having won this race with I’ll Have Another and Nyquist. This will be Rafael Bejarano’s first ride on the colt.

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The latest Kentucky Derby betting odds

Betting has been underway since Friday. Throughout the day we’ll be watching the Kentucky Derby oddsboard hourly to see whether we can pick up any betting trends. Generally the odds don’t fluctuate big numbers, and with so much money in the win pool, it’s tough to move the odds once you get to midday.

Here’s a look at the current odds, as of around 10 a.m. in Louisville. Post is 6:57 p.m., meaning it’s about nine hours to the starting gates opening.

  1. Mo Donegal 8-1
  2. Happy Jack 21-1
  3. Epicenter 5-1
  4. Summer Is Tomorrow 42-1
  5. Smile Happy 14-1
  6. Messier 7-1
  7. Crown Pride 17-1
  8. Charge It 13-1
  9. Tiz the Bomb 25-1
  10. Zandon 8-1
  11. Pioneer of Medina 47-1
  12. Taiba 5-1
  13. Simplification 40-1
  14. Barber Road 40-1
  15. White Abarrio 11-1
  16. Cyberknife 14-1
  17. Classic Causeway 67-1
  18. Tawny Port 67-1
  19. Zozos 39-1
  20. Ethereal Road Scratched
  21. Rich Strike 99-1
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Know your Kentucky Derby horses: Mo Donegal (Post 1)

Kentucky Derby entrant Mo Donegal works out at Churchill Downs on Thursday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Owner: Donegal Racing

Purchase price: $250,000

Lifetime record: 5-3-0-2

Winnings: $621,800

How he got here: Won the Wood Memorial and Remsen Stakes, third in the Holy Bull

Qualifying points: 112

Morning line: 10-1

Comment: It’s been more than two decades since the winner of the Wood Memorial also won the Kentucky Derby. (Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000.) So, he’s got that going against him. He has shown a little slowness getting out of the gate, which could be trouble in a race with 20 horses. He has the ability to rate off the leaders and in the Wood chased down the leader to win by a neck. Joel Rosario rode him in the Wood but chose to ride Epicenter. The last time a rail horse won the Derby was 1986 with Ferdinand. His tough win in the Remsen gives backers some hope.

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Who did bettors think would win the Kentucky Oaks Friday and Kentucky Derby Saturday?

Luis Saez rides Secret Oath as he wins the Kentucky Oaks horse race at Churchill Downs Friday
Luis Saez rides Secret Oath as he wins the Kentucky Oaks horse race at Churchill Downs Friday in Louisville, Ky.
(Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — One of the best indicators of how the betting will actually end up is to look at what is called the “will pays” on a bet where you have to pick the winner of the Kentucky Oaks on Friday and put it with the winner of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.

Secret Oath was the winner of Oaks for trainer Wayne Lukas. What the will pays tell us is that Epicenter will end up as the favorite, followed by Taiba, Zandon, Messier and Mo Donegal.

Here’s a look at what a $1 bet with Secret Oath on the front end and Derby horses on the back end.

1. Mo Donegal $51.80

2. Happy Jack $622.50

3. Epicenter $25.10

4. Summer Is Tomorrow $511.70

5. Smile Happy $97.60

6. Messier $40.90

7. Crown Pride $96.20

8. Charge It $67.50

9. Tiz the Bomb $238.10

10. Zandon $36.40

11. Pioneer of Medina $534.80

12. Taiba $32.40

13. Simplification $201.30

14. Barber Road $329.60

15. White Abarrio $79.70

16. Cyberknife $91.20

17. Classic Causeway $550.00

18. Tawny Port $651.40

19. Zozos $309.00

20. Ethereal Road Scratched

21. Rich Strike $973.20

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Kentucky Derby 2022: Favorites, weather and other storylines to watch

Taiba stands in his stall at Santa Anita Park on April 25.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Much to the chagrin of Churchill Downs, one of the major topics of discussion before Saturday’s running of the 148th Kentucky Derby is not who is in Louisville, but the one person who is not. All that could change once the gates open and up to 20 horses start their 1 1/4-mile journey in the world’s most famous horse race.

Then again, if one of two horses previously trained by Bob Baffert wins the race, then his seeming vice grip on the conversation in horse racing will once again be evident, even in absentia. There’s certainly a chance that could happen.

Tim Yakteen, a former Baffert assistant, has taken over the training of Taiba and Messier, who finished first and second in the Santa Anita Derby.

“I use the analogy that I’ve had a lottery ticket dropped in my lap and I’m trying to go to the window and cash it,” Yakteen said.

The road to the Kentucky Derby is a long slog beginning last September with 48 races that are worth qualifying points. Yet that is mostly marketing with low points races that really don’t matter. The Derby trail starts in earnest in early March with races worth 50 points to the winner and early April with races worth 100 points to the winner and 40 points for second. The current cutoff for making the field is 30 points.

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What time does the 2022 Kentucky Derby start? What TV channel is it on?

The field of 19 horses and riders bolt out of the starting gate during the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby.
The field of 19 horses and riders bolt out of the starting gate during the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 1, 2021.
(Brynn Anderson / Associated Press)

It’s that time of year again. Invite the neighbors. Make up a draw sheet. Crack open the bourbon and pour one of the most overrated drinks in the country. (Remember to drink through a straw from the bottom, that’s where the syrup in a mint julep is located.)

While trying to figure when to do all this Saturday, you must work backward and answer the pressing question: What time is the Kentucky Derby?

Obviously, it depends which time zone you are in.

Let’s start with the location of the race, Louisville, Ky., in the Eastern time zone. Post is scheduled for 6:57 p.m. local time, give or take a minute or two, but never early.

If you are in the Midwest, say Chicago, look for a start at 5:57 p.m.

In the Rocky Mountain zone, such as Denver, you can count on it at 4:57 p.m.

And, finally, if you are in the favored time zone of Los Angeles Times readers, it’s 3:57 p.m.

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Kentucky Derby should be one of the most competitive in years

Kentucky Derby entrant Simplification works out at Churchill Downs on Thursday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Trying to find a winner in this year’s 148th running of the Kentucky Derby is about as easy as getting through the week here without wet weather. The angles are as plentiful as the unrelenting optimism of the 14 trainers representing the 20 horses in the starting field.

There are the two horses moved from the Bob Baffert barn to trainer Tim Yakteen, one of whom will run the Derby in his third lifetime start. There’s all-time winning trainer Steve Asmussen trying to break an 0 of 23 streak with perhaps the favorite. There is noted turf trainer Chad Brown with another favorite trying to win his first Kentucky Derby.

And don’t forget veteran trainer Todd Pletcher with three horses and two wins in 59 previous starts. There is also Brad Cox, who won last year’s Derby by disqualification, with three horses hoping he actually gets to celebrate a win the same day the race was held.

“This is one of the deepest, most competitive Derbies in recent years,” said racing historian Jon White, who also makes the morning line at Santa Anita and Del Mar. “From a speed figure standpoint, this is a wide-open race. It’s a group with togetherness as far as their figures are concerned.

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