Kentucky Derby Odds 2022: Epicenter Bet Down As Favorite In Advanced Wagering At Circa

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Advanced wagering is available on this year's Kentucky Derby at Circa. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

The Kentucky Derby is set to run on May 7 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, and four horses have separated themselves in advanced wagering at sportsbooks including Circa Sports in Las Vegas.

Epicenter remains the betting favorite with shortened odds from +490 to +395 at Circa. Messier (+595), Taiba (+630), and Zandon (+635) were trailing close behind.

While the field won’t be official until the post position draw on May 2, here are Circa’s futures odds on horses that have qualified for the Kentucky Derby. They were current as of Wednesday afternoon.

2022 Kentucky Derby Futures Odds

HorseCirca Odds To Win 2022 Kentucky Derby
Epicenter+395
Messier+595
Taiba+630
Zandon+635
Mo Donegal+1200
Smile Happy+1200
White Abbarrio+1385
Charge It+1500
Cyberknife+1600
Zozos+2300
Tiz The Bomb+2600
Simplification+2600
Crown Pride+3400
Early Voting+4000
Barber Road+4000
Classic Causeway+4000
Pioneer of Medina+6500
Tawny Port+7500
Uno Ojo+10000
Summer Is Tomorrow+10000
In Due Time+10000
Happy Jack+10000
Ethereal Road+15000

Epicenter Has Shortest Price

Epicenter, winner of the Louisana Derby, produced these numbers in his workout at Churchill Downs on Easter Sunday.

Owned by Steven Asmussen, Epicenter will have Joel Rosario aboard as jockey in the Kentucky Derby.

Circa’s Paul Zilm is a veteran oddsmaker in horse racing. He worked full-time as a risk supervisor and bookmaker at Circa until March 2021. Now, he handles horse racing odds for Circa as a consultant.

Zilm noted Epicenter was as high as +4000 (or 40-to-1 odds) in Circa’s Derby futures pool, but he’s been bet down to +395 as the current favorite.

“There’s a little bit of liability there but not huge,” he said. “We get pretty aggressive with our odds. I’ve always been of the belief that you let the market dictate where it goes. Don’t just low-ball numbers to protect yourself and give people a chance.”

Circa’s Kentucky Derby futures pool opened on December 1, 2021. It’s the third year Circa has offered the Derby pool to its customers. All bets become immediate action upon being placed at Circa.

“That allows us to offer (long) odds because you’re lucky to get your horse into the gate,” Zilm said. “It’s been steady since we opened it in December. The excitement’s there, and people know that we have it now. It probably took a Derby or two to realize that we were doing it.”

Zilm said that Zandon took some sharp action at Circa. He was offered at +2500 (or 25-1) before his win in the Bluegrass Stakes on April 9.

“(They) got down on good numbers with us right before his win in the Bluegrass in Lexington,” Zilm said. “A couple of sharp bettors that we respect took a good number, and now we’re not Zandon’s biggest fans. Although it’s not going to be a huge loss, it’s certainly a liability there.”

That liability will be minimized after Zilm said Circa took a lot of money on three horses that failed to qualify for the Kentucky Derby: Emmanuel, Doppelgänger, and Corniche.

Wither Bob Baffert?

Legendary trainer Bob Baffert, who is serving a 90-day suspension after the fallout from last year’s controversial Kentucky Derby win with Medina Spirit, transferred three of his horses to Tim Yakteen in March.

Messier, Doppelgänger, and McLaren Vale are now under the direction of Yakteen, who previously worked as an assistant under Baffert. Yakteen also has the Baffert horse Taiba in his barn after a previous transfer. Taiba, who won the Santa Anita Derby, is among the favorites to win the Kentucky Derby along with Messier.

“People can think how they want to if it’s still Baffert pulling the strings or not, but those two horses are under Yakteen’s name and will be for the Derby and any subsequent Triple Crown races,” Zilm said. “His 90-day suspension will cover that time period.”

Looking For A Longer Shot?

Like many bettors, Zilm prefers to place his own Derby bets on horses with mid-ranged odds between 20- and 30-1. He has his eye on Charge It, who finished second in his final prep race to qualify for the Derby. That second-place finish came in The Florida Derby on April 2 after a win and another runner-up finish previously. The lightly-raced horse is trained by Todd Pletcher. Charge It was bet down to +1500 odds as of Wednesday.

“I think at the end of the Triple Crown season, or certainly the summer, he may be the best of the bunch,” Zilm said. “He’s a horse that I might take a flyer on in the Derby. He might be a superstar or a freak.”

About the Author

Kris Johnson

Writer & Contributor
With more than 15 years of experience as a sports journalist, Kris Johnson’s work has appeared in Sports Business Daily, Sports Business Journal, NASCAR Illustrated, and more. Kris also wrote a sports-betting novel entitled The Endgame.

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