Louisiana Derby Predictions, Odds, Picks (Fair Grounds) 2022

Post Position and Odds – Louisiana Derby

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2022 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds!

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
G Melancon S Gelner
2 ZOZOS 5/1
F Geroux B Cox
J Graham K Desormeaux
C J Hernandez D Stewart
5 KUPUNA 10/1
R Gutierrez W B Calhoun
J Rosario S Asmussen
T Gaffalione T Pletcher
8 GALT 8/1
J Alvarado W Mott
B J Hernandez Jr K McPeek

Louisiana Derby Picks and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($45 in total)

$10 Exacta Part Wheel – Epicenter over Zozos, Call Me Midnight and Kupuna = $30

$5 Exacta Part Wheel – Zozos, Call Me Midnight and Kupuna over Epicenter = $15

If you’re playing only to win, go with my top pick Epicenter (7/5).

Louisiana Derby (Fair Grounds)

Fresh off a big performance in winning the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes, Epicenter will be the horse they all have to beat when a field of nine Kentucky Derby hopefuls head to the post in Saturday’s $1 million Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, Epicenter has been the top 3-year-old male on the grounds in New Orleans this winter. An impressive win on the day after Christmas in the Gun Runner Stakes started his run at Fair Grounds.

After that the son of Not This Time was a narrow runner-up in the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes, before coming back with an easy front-running victory in last month’s Risen Star.

The only horse to defeat Epicenter in the last three stakes races at Fair Grounds will be back to try and do it again. Call Me Midnight, who skipped the Risen Star in favor of waiting for the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, uncorked an impressive late run to catch Epicenter on the wire in the Lecomte Stakes nine weeks ago.

A 28/1 longshot that day, look for the son of Midnight Lute to get much more respect this time around.

Hoping to crash the graded stakes party is the Brad Cox-trained Zozos.

The son of Munnings won his debut in a six furlong maiden race in January at Fair Grounds, but really caught the eye of racefans in his second start, running away with a 1 1/16 -mile allowance race at Oaklawn Park by 10 lengths on February 11.

Contested at 1 3/16-miles, the Louisiana Derby is the longest of the major Kentucky Derby preps and offers qualifying points on a scale of 100-40-20-10 to the top four finishers.

Louisiana Derby Predictions and Race Analysis


After breaking his maiden nicely at Churchill Downs in his second start, Epicenter has continued to improve since coming to New Orleans.

An impressive winner of the local Gun Runner Stakes in December, before just getting caught in the final stages of the Grade 3 Lecomte, his last race was his best yet.

Now 3-for-5 lifetime, he will need to carry that speed an extra sixteenth of a mile on Saturday, but that will not be a problem if he performs like he did when dominating a good field in the Risen Star last time.

There is other speed in this race, but this talented son of Not This Time looks like the controlling speed and coming off three sharp stakes efforts over the track, the Steve Asmussen-trainee is clearly the one to beat. He is the top pick.


It’s really hard to know how good this son of Munnings may be. After a grinding sprint victory over a pair of horses that came back to win their next race, he absolutely romped in a two-turn allowance race at Oaklawn Park. Now he will step up in both class and distance for the Louisiana Derby.

Drawn to the inside of Epicenter, rider Florent Geroux might have to use his mount early to gain position against the favorite. That could make things tough for a horse stretching out to 1 3/16-miles, but he sure did look good in finishing off the allowance competition in Arkansas.

This will be a major test for a horse so light on experience, but he looks like a major talent who could be a real factor on Saturday.

Call Me Midnight

After showing steady improvement at 2, he disappointed in his stakes debut last fall in what was a very tough edition of the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club.

Perhaps brought back too soon for that one, he certainly made amends two months later with a strong rally down the middle of the lane to score an upset victory over Epicenter in the Grade 2 Lecomte Stakes.

Given some time again between races, and working well, there is good reason to believe he will come back with another strong effort. If the favorite is softened up by serious pressure early, this one looks like the most likely in the field to come running late. Once again, he is in with a chance.

Pioneer of Medina

This son of Pioneerof the Nile gave Epicenter a try last time in the Risen Star, and while he was no match for the winner, he stayed on well to finish close to Smile Happy and Zandon when fourth.

A better horse since adding blinkers for trainer Todd Pletcher three starts back, he now has two solid starts over the Fair Grounds main track, after winning an allowance race there two starts back. He also has good tactical speed to stay in touch early.

This race looks to have more early speed, though, then we saw in the Risen Star, which could make things tougher for him. I wouldn’t at all be surprised by another nice effort, but I am not convinced that he can do better than he did last time.

Rattle N Roll

After developing into a very nice juvenile, and in fact the winner of the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, it’s hard to know what to expect from this Kenny McPeek-trained late runner on Saturday.

Off for five months after his big win as a 2-year-old, his return race last month was less than inspiring. While improvement off that dull sixth-place finish in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth would come as no surprise, I find it a little hard to be excited about his chances against an even tougher field in the Louisiana Derby.

The distance increase should be to his liking, and he is working well, but I need to see a good performance at 3 before I pick him against a field like this.


Trained by Bill Mott, and a full sister to the great Songbird, this son of Medaglia d’Oro has every right to improve with experience. He will need to show improvement on Saturday if he is to threaten the likes of Epicenter.

Having said that, he does own a nice maiden win three starts back at Gulfstream Park, and followed that up with a decent fourth-place finish behind White Abarrio in the Grade 3 Holy Bull.

Last time he lost his rider as a longshot in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth three weeks ago. He does still have potential, as well as early speed to make himself known early in the race, but there are too many others that I like better in this spot.


This son of Hard Spun comes into the Louisiana Derby off a second-place finish behind the Arkansas Derby-bound Cyberknife in a fast allowance race on the Risen Star undercard.

An impressive winner of an Oaklawn Park maiden race before that, Kupuna looks like an up-and-comer for trainer Bret Calhoun. Never out of the money in four career starts, he is getting better with each race and working very well for his first try in stakes company.

It will be a big test, but with a little bit of tactical speed and a nice closing punch, he looks like a live long shot on Saturday.

Curly Tail

This son of Curlin was finally able to break his maiden in his sixth career start for trainer Dallas Stewart. It came in a maiden race at Oaklawn Park four weeks ago, and he finished strongly to do it.

He does appear to be improving and may be able to pick up some tiring horses in the 1 3/16-mile test, but as far as actually contending for a top spot in the million-dollar Louisiana Derby, I just don’t see it.

Silent Power

Once a winner in eight lifetime starts, this colt from the barn of Scott Gelner turned in his best performance to date when he rallied for a competitive fourth last time in the Big Drama Stakes at Delta Downs.

A repeat of that improved performance still leaves him little hope against this field, though. He is overmatched and I find him impossible to recommend on Saturday.

How to Watch Louisiana Derby

Louisiana Derby Race Information
What Louisiana Derby (Grade 2)
Location Fair Grounds
Time Saturday, March 26 — 6:44 pm Eastern time
How to Watch TVG
Purse $1,000,000

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Brian Zipse

Expert on Horse Racing

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

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