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Reigning 2-year-old champion Echo Zulu will try to take a step toward another Eclipse Award when she leaves the starting gate in the 2022 Kentucky Oaks on Friday at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Echo Zulu is a perfect 5-for-5 in her career. Last year, she won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies en route to earning champion 2-year-old filly honors. For Friday, she is getting 4-1 in the 2022 Kentucky Oaks odds. Ashland Stakes winner Nest, who has won four of five career starts, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the 14-horse Kentucky Oaks 2022 field, while undefeated Gulfstream Park Oaks winner Kathleen O. is getting 7-2. 

Post time for the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks 2022 is 5:51 p.m. ET. With very little separating the top 2022 Kentucky Oaks contenders, you'll want to see what astute racing reporter and analyst Michelle Yu has to say before making any 2022 Kentucky Oaks picks of your own.

Few people in racing are as connected as Yu. An on-air host and reporter who has provided racing analysis for TVG, HRTV and the Breeders' Cup, Yu has spent a lifetime in racing. Prior to her television career, she worked for trainers Steve Asmussen and Ron Moquett. She also is married to Santa Anita-based trainer Ryan Hanson.

She also has tremendous handicapping chops. In the 2011 Run for the Roses, she correctly tabbed Animal Kingdom to win at a hefty 21-1. In the 2017 Breeders' Cup, she nailed 11-1 long shot Wuheida to win the Filly and Mare Turf. Last year, in a wide-open Run for the Roses, she gave out Medina Spirit, who crossed the finish line first, as the winner at 12-1.

Since joining SportsLine in November, her picks have cashed in the Breeders' Cup Classic, Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, Sham Stakes, El Camino Real Derby, San Felipe Stakes and Santa Anita Handicap. Anyone who has followed her is way up. 

Now, Yu has handicapped the 2022 Kentucky Oaks odds, made her picks and constructed her bets. You can only see them at SportsLine.

Top 2022 Kentucky Oaks expert picks

One surprise: Yu is not so keen on Gulfstream Park Oaks winner Kathleen O., even though she is a major contender in the race. Listed at 7-2 on the morning line, behind only Nest, Kathleen O. has been a stretch-running sensation, chasing down early leaders with her powerful late kick. She is coming off a victory in the Gulfstream Park Oaks that earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 98, the best in the field.

However, Kathleen O.'s domination at Gulfstream Park this spring has come against suspect foes. "If I have to pick her apart, she hasn't really had to fight for a win," Yu says. Yu does not have Kathleen O. ranked among her top three choices.

Another curveball: Yu does like the chances of UAE Oaks winner Shahama, who is a 15-1 long shot. One of three undefeated fillies in the field, Shahama was bred in Kentucky before being sold and being taken to Dubai to race. She has won her four career starts by more than 17 lengths combined before being transferred to trainer Todd Pletcher.

Since arriving at Churchill Downs, she has impressed trackside observers with her morning workouts, and this daughter of Munnings is bred to thrive in the expected wet conditions forecast for Friday. "She seems to be training well, and she has overcome difficulties in races previously," Yu told SportsLine. Yu is including Shahama prominently in her 2022 Kentucky Oaks bets.

How to make 2022 Kentucky Oaks picks, bets

Moreover, Yu's top pick is a horse who "might be the most athletic horse out there." She also is high on a surprising double-digit long shot who is an "outsider with a shot." She is including these horses in her 2022 Kentucky Oaks bets, and so should you. She's only sharing which horses to back and fade at SportsLine.

So who wins the 2022 Kentucky Oaks? What double-digit long shot is a must-back? And how has Yu constructed her wagers? Check out the Kentucky Oaks odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Yu's picks for the Kentucky Oaks, and find out.

Prg #HorseOddsProjection
1Secret Oath6-1SEE PICKS HERE
2Nostalgic15-1SEE PICKS HERE
3Hidden Connection20-1SEE PICKS HERE
4Nest5-2SEE PICKS HERE
5Goddess of Fire15-1SEE PICKS HERE
6Yuugiri30-1SEE PICKS HERE
7Echo Zulu4-1SEE PICKS HERE
8Venti Valentine20-1SEE PICKS HERE
9Desert Dawn20-1SEE PICKS HERE
10Kathleen O.7-2SEE PICKS HERE
11Cocktail Moments30-1SEE PICKS HERE
12Candy Raid30-1SEE PICKS HERE
13Shahama15-1SEE PICKS HERE
14Turnerloose20-1SEE PICKS HERE
15*Beguine30-1SEE PICKS HERE