Steve Asmussen is one of the most consistent and successful trainers in thoroughbred history. But for all of Asmussen’s success, he has never won the Kentucky Derby. This year, Asmussen will saddle his best Derby shot since Curlin finished third behind Street Sense and Hard Spun in the 2007 Run for the Roses. Check out updated Kentucky Derby Betting Odds and keep reading for more info on Epicenter and other Kentucky Derby news.
Road to the Kentucky Derby – Asmussen Looks for First Derby with Favored Epicenter
2022 Kentucky Derby
- When: Saturday, May 7
- Where: Churchill Downs, Louisville, KY
- TV/Streaming: NBC / Peacock
Current 2022 Kentucky Derby Field
- White Abbario
- Mo Donegal
- Tiz the Bomb
- Crown Pride (JPN)
- Smile Happy
- Tawny Port
- Barber Road
- Un Ojo
- Early Voting
- Summer Is Tomorrow
- Charge It
- Happy Jack
Steve Asmussen hopes for first Derby victory with favorite Epicenter
How good is Epicenter? That’s the question on everyone’s lips. Steve Asmussen certainly hopes that Epicenter is good enough to win the Derby.
Asmussen saddled one of the favorites in the 2007 Derby. But Curlin, who would go on to become one of the greatest race horses in history, was too green to win the Run for the Roses.
A couple of weeks after the third-place finish in the Derby, Curlin won the Preakness. He then finished second to Rags to Riches, a Todd Pletcher trained filly, by a nose in the Belmont.
Epicenter is ultra-talented. But he prepped in the Louisiana Derby, a race that doesn’t often produce Run for the Roses winners. Grindstone took the roses in 1996. The D.Wayne Lukas trained runner is the only Louisiana Derby winner to ever win the Kentucky Derby.
Before writing Epicenter off, though, it’s important to note that Mandaloun, who is the official 2021 Kentucky Derby winner after Churchill Downs disqualified Medina Spirit, prepped in the Louisiana Derby even though he didn’t win it.
Chad Brown saddles legit contender Zandon
Like Steve Asmussen, Chad Brown has never won a Kentucky Derby. Also like Steve Asmussen, Brown saddles one of his best contenders in this year’s Run for the Roses.
Zandon won this year’s Blue Grass Stakes. Although the horse officially ran slower than Epicenter did when winning the Louisiana Derby, the Upstart sired runner was more impressive visually.
The Brown charge put it into another gear in the stretch. Horses that can accelerate quickly often take home the roses. Right now, if Epicenter is the favorite, Zandon is the A-favorite.
Taiba can make history
Most thought Taiba’s owner, Amr Zenda, was crazy for running Taiba in the Santa Anita Derby off a maiden victory.
Forbidden Kingdom had raced like a monster when winning the San Felipe. Messier had already proven he was one of the top three-year-olds in the world. How could Taiba beat either?
But Zenda decided to run, anyhow.
So far, so good. Taiba ran by Messier like the former Bob Baffert trainee was standing still. Tim Yakteen, Bob’s former assistant, trains Taiba.
Yakteen also trains Messier. Tim won’t say which horse he prefers.
If Taiba wins, Zenda will make history. The Gun Runner sired colt will have won the Kentucky Derby in only his third lifetime start.
The only other horse to complete the feat was Leonatus in 1883. Also if Taiba wins, he will be the third horse, the first two were Apollo in 1882 and Justify in 2018, to win the Kentucky Derby without having raced as a 2-year-old.
Crown Pride also has a chance to make history
Crown Pride won the UAE Derby. The way the horse from Japan won impressed big time. Once Crown Pride switched leads, he burst through the lane, easily passing the tiring front runner.
As impressive as Crown Pride looked, we must question the UAE Derby field. Taiba, Messier, Zandon, and Epicenter all look faster. If Crown Pride wins, he will be the first non-U.S. based horse to win the Kentucky Derby.
Late to the party Tawny Port gives Brad Cox a second confirmed Derby starter
Official 2021 Kentucky Derby winning trainer Brad Cox goes for his second straight Run for the Roses with two horses.
Tawny Port will join barn mate Cyberknife in the Kentucky Derby starting gate. The Lexington Stakes runner has become an underdog contender to win the Run for the Roses.
Cox could saddle three horses. Zozos has enough points to run. But Brad may save Zozos for the Preakness.
Former Bob Baffert trainee Messier may end up the wise guy choice
Based on the pre-Derby whispers, former Bob Baffert trained equine Messier could overtake Epicenter and go off the Run for the Roses chalk. Messier has the talent to not only win the Derby but to also take the Triple Crown.
Taiba did run past Messier in the Santa Anita Derby. The SA Derby was Messier’s first race in eight weeks and only his second race of the year.
If the Messier that won the Robert B. Lewis Stakes shows up at Churchill Downs, all other horses will be running for second. Perhaps that’s why the loudest whispers are about how Messier will take it to his peers.
If you agree, jump on the Empire Maker sired runner early. It’s doubtful you get better odds on Derby Day.