2022 Louisiana Derby Odds, Race Preview On Road To Kentucky Derby

Written By Dave Bontempo on March 24, 2022
Louisiana Derby Odds

Kentucky Derby prep season kicks into high gear with Saturday’s $1 million Louisiana Derby at Fairgrounds Race Course in New Orleans. Post time is 6:44 p.m. ET. Not only does the winner receive 100 qualifying points– up from 50 in the highest previous events– but the runner-up earns 40 points, more than enough to qualify for the May 7 Run for the Roses.

The distance of 1 3/16 miles is significant, making this the longest Kentucky Derby prep. It has the same distance as the Preakness Stakes, which will be run May 21. The result of the Louisiana Derby will be highly monitored by nationwide gamblers, because its graduates will have the shortest distance to stretch out for the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby.

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Louisiana Derby Rundown

Bettors can access all of Saturday’s action via TVG and treat themselves to a terrific lead-up of package of races at Fairgrounds. That includes:

  • The $500,000 New Orleans Classic at 5:08 p.m. ET
  • The $300,000 Muniz Memorial Classic at 5:40 p.m. ET
  • The $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks at 6:12 p.m. ET

Last year’s Louisiana Derby unfurled a number of high-profile players on the thoroughbred racing stage. Mandaloun, the eventual Kentucky Derby winner, was a badly beaten 6-5 in this race. Hot Rod Charlie– the eventual Belmont Stakes runner-up– captured this 2021 race in front-running style. Midnight Bourbon, who would finish second in the Preakness, was second here.

Louisiana Derby Morning Line Odds

PostHorseOpening OddsTrainerJockey
1Silent Power50-1Scott Gelner Gerard Melancon
2Zozos 8-1Brad CoxFlorent Geroux
3Call Me Midnight8-1J. DesormeauxJames Graham
4Curly Tail30-1Dallas StewartColby Hernandez
5Kupuna8-1Bret CalhounReylu Gutierrez
6Epicenter7-5Steve AsmussenJoel Rosario
7Pioneer of Medina5-1Todd PletcherTyler Gaffalione
8Galt6-1Bill MottJunior Alvarado
9Rattle N Roll6-1Ken McPeekBrian Hernandez

Past Performances

1. Silent Power (50-1)

Justifiably longer than long. Still a maiden, not only in the winner’s circle to make the top 3; fourth is his best finish. He didn’t come close in a $75,000 event at Delta Downs. Connections must see something we don’t (Tiznow blood, bred to run long?), but I can’t see him in here.

2. Zozos (8-1)

Nice odds for an eligible-to-improve horse. He’s 3-for-3, winning with attitude in Allowance Optional Claiming. He took the lead around the turn and won by 10 widening lengths. That suggests he’s ready for bigger challenges.

His 1:44.40 time in winning at 1 1/6 miles is only a fraction below the 1:44.36 turned in by Call Me Midnight at the Lecomte. If he can get another eighth of a mile here, could be dangerous. He’ll be a nice horse to watch regardless of what happens here.

Stalking style. In the mix.

3. Call Me Midnight (6-1)

What a monstrous run to come from the clouds and nip Epicenter at the wire in the 1 1/6-mile Lecomte in January. That surge looked even more impressive because it didn’t occur against a torrid pace. The fractions of 23.40 for the quarter mile and 47.01 at the half mile were honest, but not contentious in a race that didn’t necessarily set up for him. But he took it at 28-1 and teamed with Epicenter for an exacta of $182.80.

A similar pairing will never pay anything like that again. He has a full eighth of a mile additional room to work with here if that’s in him and he’s showed the ability to close. Two excellent factors in his favor. Live.

4. Curly Tail (30-1)

Broke his maiden in his sixth race. Always runs hard and did come up with a win at 1 1/16, but at a full second slower than Epicenter and Zozos. Deserves to be moved up after the Maiden Special Weights win, but maybe not this high.

5. Kupuna (8-1)

Ran a spirited second in Allowance Optional claiming company at this track and distance. Winner’s time of 1:42.13 for 1 1/6 makes his runner-up effort stack up well. Now he must move up. Game, underneath candidate.

6. Epicenter (7-5)

Deserved favorite, he stretched nicely from hard-luck second in the Lecomte to a strong-looking triumph in the Risen Star at 1 1/8 miles. In both efforts, Epicenter got an uncontested lead in sensible time. He looked like he was on the uptick in the Risen Star and will try to take it to 1 3/16 miles. If he gets comfortable lead, he could romp, but odds lower than this are unattractive, considering the new distance and Call Me Midnight’s last ride.

7. Pioneer of Medina (5-1)

He was right there in the Risen Star at a juicy 33-1, but gave up the pursuit in the last couple hundred yards. A similar effort would put him in the mix with in the middle of the homestretch. It’s a matter of whether he can improve. Maybe stays under.

8. Galt (8-1)

Potential speed horse to contest Epicenter. Galt broke to the lead from the rail in the Holy Bull and faded, then wasn’t in the mix at the Fountain of Youth. He looks like he’s over his head, but could be as pace factor regarding Epicenter.

9. Rattle N Roll (6-1)

Rattle N Roll was in position to make a strong move in the Fountain of Youth and lost run just before the far turn. He prefers to come off and would need many things to break his way and would have to improve. Past form suggested he would have been able to move up in class. On the bubble.

Betting Strategy for the Louisiana Derby

About The Pace

Early positioning is important here. The last two winners wired the field. In 2019, By My Standards took an early stalking position on the rail and ran the leaders down; Epicenter will likely bolt for the lead here. Galt could be involved early to pepper him, but Zozos may inherit a good stalking position. Call Me Midnight would benefit by at least being in mid-pack early on.

The distance is a significant variable for the entire field.

How I’m Betting The Louisiana Derby

I think Epicenter shakes free from early speed and may prove able to stretch. A win bet at 7-5 or above, and not worth it for the risk at anything below the morning line. It looks like he may have his way with the pace and bettors may slam his odds down.

I will take an exacta box with Epicenter and Call Me Midnight (6-3), but seriously consider the same bet with Zozos. A looks angle on Saturday will decide that. I’ll toss Zozos in the mix for a $1 trifecta box (6-3-2) and put Kupuna in a 50-cent superfecta box 2-3-5-6 unless they all look short-priced. If the odds shrink on Epicenter, I’ll probably toss a win bet on either Call Me Midnight or Zozos.

I don’t dislike the rest of the field, but think this group has the best chance to improve.

If you like assorted longshots underneath, a $1 trifecta with your favorite horse first, Epicenter second and the entire field third costs only $7. It can be played with Epicenter on top too, but won’t pay nearly as much. Either way, bettors will have to maneuver around short odds for the favorite.

Good luck with the Louisiana Derby!

Road To Kentucky Derby Leaderboard

The top-20 healthy horses in the standings after all KY Derby prep races have completed will be eligible to enter the Run for the Roses on the first Saturday in May.

RankHorsePointsTrainer
1Epicenter
164Steven M. Asmussen
2Zandon114Chad Brown
3White Abarrio
112Saffie Joseph, Jr.
4Mo Donegal112Todd Pletcher
5Tiz the Bomb110Kenny McPeek
6Cyberknife100Brad Cox
7Crown Pride (JPN)100Koichi Shintani
8Taiba100Tim Yakteen
9Simplification
74Antonio Sano
10Smile Happy
70Kenny McPeek
11Classic Causway66Brian Lynch
12Tawny Port60Brad Cox
13Barber Road
58John Ortiz
14Un Ojo
54Anthony W. Dutrow
15Messier40Tim Yakteen
16Zozos40Brad Cox
17Summer Is Tomorrow40Bhupat Seemar
18Charge It40Todd Pletcher
19Happy Jack30Doug O'Neill
20Pioneer of Medina25Todd Pletcher
21In Due Time24Kelly Breen
22Ethereal Road22D. Wayne Lukas
23Rich Strike21Eric Reed
24Rattle N Roll20Kenny McPeek

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Written by
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, who writes extensively on the emergence of legalized sports betting, is a recipient of the Sam Taub Award for Broadcast Excellence by the Boxing Writers Association of America. He has broadcast boxing for all the major networks over the last four decades and is a member of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame as well as the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame. His work also can be seen at the Press of Atlantic City and iGamingPlayer.

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