Kentucky Derby 148 Post Positions and Odds

Zandon was installed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite for the Kentucky Derby. (Coady Photography)

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Post Position Horse, Jockey and Morning Line Odds
1 Mo Donegal (Irad Ortiz, Jr.) 10-1
2 Happy Jack (Rafael Bejarano) 30-1
3 Epicenter (Joel Rosario) 7-2
4 Summer Is Tomorrow (Mickael Barzalona) 30-1
5 Smile Happy (Corey Lanerie) 20-1
6 Messier (John Velazquez) 8-1
7 Crown Pride (Christophe Lemaire) 20-1
8 Charge It (Luis Saez) 20-1
9 Tiz the Bomb (Brian Hernandez, Jr. ) 30-1
10 Zandon (Flavien Prat) 3-1
11 Pioneer of Medina (Joe Bravo) 30-1
12 Taiba (Mike Smith) 12-1
13 Simplification (Jose Ortiz) 20-1
14 Barber Road (Reylu Gutierrez) 30-1
15 White Abarrio (Tyler Gaffalione) 10-1
16 Cyberknife (Florent Geroux) 20-1
17 Classic Causeway (Julien Leparoux) 30-1
18 Tawny Port (Ricardo Santana, Jr.) 30-1
19 Zozos (Manny Franco) 20-1
20 Ethereal Road (Luis Contreras) 30-1
AE/21 Rich Strike (Sonny Leon) 30-1
AE/22 Rattle N Roll (James Graham) 30-1

Zandon Made Morning-Line Favorite for Kentucky Derby

The buzz Zandon has generated in the morning translated when it came time to make the morning line for the 148th Kentucky Derby as the son of Upstart was installed as the 3-1 program choice for the first leg of the Triple Crown at Churchill Downs on May 7.

Trained by four-time Eclipse Award winner Chad Brown, Zandon has learned his lessons quickly in his four career starts as evidenced by his victory in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland on April 9. Though many expected Louisiana Derby (G2) winner Epicenter to earn favoritism in the 20-horse field for the first Saturday in May, Zandon's bandwagon has filled up in recent weeks after a pair of effortless workouts, the most recent being a five-furlong breeze in 1:00.40 at Churchill on April 29. Owned by Jeff Drown, Zandon will break from post No. 10 as he aims to give Brown his first win in the Kentucky Derby.

"He trains as good as a horse can possibly train so you know I'm proud of my team and everyone that's worked with this horse to get him to this point," Brown said of Zandon. "Sometimes the race can be won or lost at the draw so I'm very relieved. It's where we wanted to be, somewhere in the middle. I feel really good. The horse is coming off his best career race and he's settled in at Churchill Downs nicely. Knock on wood, he's going toward that First Saturday in May the right way. Certainly Epicenter has done nothing wrong and he's clearly one of the horses to beat."

Winchell Thoroughbreds' Epicenter landed in post No. 3 during Monday's draw and was made the 7-2 second choice on the morning line. The son of Not This Time stalked and pounced his way to victory in the March 26 Louisiana Derby and previously won the Risen Star Stakes (G2) in gate-to-wire fashion on Feb. 19, defeating Zandon that day. Epicenter is trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, who is aiming to snap his 0-for-23 record in the Kentucky Derby.

"Like every horse in the race, you want a nice, smooth trip away from there and may the best horse win," Asmussen said. "Epicenter is very confident right now, training very well. We obviously feel this is a wonderful chance to win the Derby. All of it now is if he can get away from the gates clearly and get into the rhythm that has allowed him success to this point and be the best on Saturday. I'll be surprised if he gets beat. The rest, I have nothing to do with."

Joel Rosario, who has been aboard for Epicenter’s past three starts, has the call Saturday as he seeks a second Derby victory to go with the triumph aboard Orb in 2013. Epicenter will break from post position No. 3.

"I've always said about post positions you don't know to complain about them until after the race is run," Asmussen said.

Owned by the partnership of SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Robert Masterson, Jay Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital, Catherine Donovan, Golconda Stable and Siena Farm, Messier is the third choice on the morning line at 8-1.

Trained by Tim Yakteen, Messier enters the Derby off a runner-up finish in the Santa Anita Derby (G1). Messier will break from post position six under three-time Derby winner John Velazquez. Velazquez’s Derby wins came with Animal Kingdom (2011), Always Dreaming (2017) and Authentic (2020).

Yakteen also will send out Zedan Racing Stable’s Taiba (12-1).

Winner of the Santa Anita Derby (G1) in just his second career start, Taiba will be trying to become the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby in just his third start since Leonatus in 1883.

Taiba will break from post position 12 and be ridden by two-time Derby winner Mike Smith. Smith won the 2005 Run for the Roses on Giacomo and the 2018 renewal on Triple Crown winner Justify.

Co-fourth choices on the morning line at 10-1 are Donegal Racing’s Wood Memorial (G2) winner Mo Donegal and White Abarrio, winner of the Florida Derby (G1).

Trained by two-time Kentucky Derby winner Todd Pletcher, Mo Donegal will be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. and break from post position one.

Pletcher, who won the Derby in 2010 with Super Saver and in 2017 with Always Dreaming, will have two other starters in the race in Whisper Hill Farm’s Charge It and Sumaya U. S. Stables’ Pioneer of Medina.

Charge It (20-1), runner-up in the Florida Derby in his most recent start, will be ridden by Luis Saez and break from post position eight. Pioneer of Medina (30-1), third to Epicenter in the Louisiana Derby in his most recent start, will be ridden by Joe Bravo and break from post position 11.

Trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., White Abarrio will break from post position 15 and be ridden by Tyler Gaffalione.

Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux, who teamed up to win the 2021 Derby with Mandaloun, are back with Gold Square’s Arkansas Derby (G1) winner Cyberknife (20-1). Cyberknife will break from post position 16.

Cox will have two other entrants in the gate in Barry and Joni Butzow’s Zozos (20-1) who will break from post position 19 under Manny Franco and Peachtree Stable’s Tawny Port (30-1) who will be ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr.and break from post position 18.

"Happy with all three. Cyberknife I thought drew well but all three shouldn't be in the gate too long," Cox said. "I'm content with all three being outside."

Four-time Derby winner D. Wayne Lukas will send out Ethereal Road (30-1), who drew into the Kentucky Derby field after the defection of Un Ojo. Un Ojo was declared out of the race with a bruised right foot that appeared after the gelding worked a sharp half-mile in :47.60 on Saturday. The decision to scratch was made Monday morning after Un Ojo didn’t immediately respond to treatment.