What horse is favored to win the Kentucky Derby?
There are few races around the world that capture the imagination as much as the Kentucky Derby. The biggest race for horses aged three takes place in May, and will once again be staged at Churchill Downs.
It looks set to be one of the most exciting renewals of the race in many years, with no shortage of exciting horses staking their claims for success in the race.
However, which horses are leading the live Kentucky Derby odds by right now?
Steven Asmussen is still waiting for his first win in the Kentucky Derby, but that wait could come to an end this year as he currently has the favorite in the for the famous race.
Epicenter hasn’t done much wrong throughout his race career to this point and has taken massive strides forward with each start in 2022. His year started with a second behind Call Me Midnight in the G3 Lecomte, but he quickly returned back to winning ways with a first success in graded company in the G2 Risen Star.
That success over 1 1/8 miles was even more impressive given that he beat the favourite for the Kentucky Derby at the time, Smile Happy. However, his best performance to date came in the G2 Louisiana Derby, as he won over 1 3/16 miles, seeing off Pioneer of Medina and Zozos. It certainly helps his case that he already has experience of Churchill Downs, as he broke his maiden at the track in November over a mile.
White Abarrio certainly fits into the category of a horse that has moved right into Kentucky Derby contention based on his previous run. There was no denying that this three-year-old was exciting before lining up in the G1 Florida Derby, but many questioned whether he could beat Simplification, who himself won a graded race after being beaten by White Abarrio in the G3 Holy Bull.
Nonetheless, those doubts were effectively answered with a stunning effort in the Florida Derby, as he left his rivals trailing in his dust over the 1 1/8 mile distance.
It was a star-studded renewal of the race with many entries holding excellent claims. However, Classic Causeway, Simplification and Charge It all struggled to deal with the natural skill possessed by White Abarrio. Like Epicenter, White Abarrio has already run at Churchill Downs, as he finished third in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club, and that could be crucial as we get closer to the Triple Crown opener.
Forbidden Kingdom remains at a very good price at present, especially given the performances that the three-year-old has put on track. Richard Mandella is still searching for a first career victory in a Triple Crown race, and Forbidden Kingdom could be the horse that could end his wait.
The three-year-old has reached a new level in 2022, and is a two-time Grade 2 winner coming into a busy month or so. Doubts remain after he was beaten by Messier in the G3 Bob Hope last year, but that race took place over seven furlongs.
There were no questions that this three-year-old boasted natural pace, but he has shown when winning the G2 San Felipe Stakes that he is more than capable of taking the step up in trip, as he ran well clear of his rivals over 1 1/16 miles.
The biggest tests lie ahead for Forbidden Kingdom, but don’t be surprised to see him go off as a favorite for the Kentucky Derby if he gets the better of Messier in the G1 Santa Anita Derby in April.