05/05/2012 12:32PM

2012 Derby Day


12:30 pm: Churchill Downs was muddy for the first, good for the 2nd and 3rd, and fast for off-the-turf 4th. Weather and track condition should not be an issue for the rest of the day.

Preliminary Beyer Speed figures for yesterday: Successful Dan 110 in the Alysheba; Contested 101 in the Eight Belles; Believe You Can 100 in the Oaks; Juanita 92 in the La Troienne.

Oaks Day all-sources betting was a record $39.9 million, according to Chuirchill Downs, up 6.5 percent from last year's $37.5 million, despite a 3.5 percent dip in on-track betting from $12 million to $11.6 million.

The stakes racing, and an all-stakes pick-6 with a $268k carryover from yesterday, starts in 49 minutes with the CD Turf Sprint at 1:19 pm. And in about six hours, we'll finally know the name of the only horse who could be the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.


1:10 pm: Here's the pick-6 play, which reflects my feeling that most of today's stakes are closely-matched contests between pretty obvious favorites, without many tempting bombs. I still thought it was worth a mild play given the size of the pool and the carryover.

As for the Derby, I used my 1-2 picks (Bodemeister and Union Rags) as A's, and my 3-5 longshots (Alpha and El Padrino) as C's.



1:30 pm: Huge late run by Great Attack ($10.80) to whoosh past Bridgetown at the wire in the Turf Sprint. The running time of 56.61 suggests the turf course is close to normal -- the last two running of the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, over the same course and distance, were timed in 56.48 (course labelled "good") and 56.53 (course labelled "firm.")


2:15 pm: Shackleford won his first race since the 2011 Preakness with style, turning back champion sprinter Amazombie to win the Churchill Downs in 1:21.06.

The result reflects well on not only the top two but also on Jackson Bend and Caleb's Posse, who outfinished Shackleford in a terrific Carter Handicap April 7.

Wonder if the track is slowing down a little -- you'd think these world-class sprinters would have run more than 0.57 seconds faster than Macho Macho, who won a N1x allowance in 1:21.63 in the 5th.


3:30 pm: Hungry Island at $13.80 in the Distaff Turf Mile and a $91.80 exacta with Tapitsfly were unexpectedly generous -- a $91.80 exacta for two 5-1 shots? -- and apparently the result of Marketing Mix's being slammed to 3-to-2 and Daisy Devine getting unexpected support at 7-2.

Time to slow yourself down: It's going to take three hours to run the next three races, all Grade 1's.


3:45 pm: Here's the Derby win betting as of 3:45 pm. I'll keep periodically updating this chart up until post time. A dash indicates no change in the odds since the previous quote.

4:00 pm: Groupie Doll just turned in a spectacular performance winning the G1 Humana Distaff, walloping reigning Eclipse champ Musical Romance in a sizzling 1:20.44 -- 0.62 seconds faster than Shackleford's winning time in the Chuchill Downs two races ago. Sassy Image and Switch just didn't fire at all.


5:00 pm: Little Mike ($26.40) is a neat horse but I never thought he'd get loose on the lead in the Turf Classic -- wasn't Turbo Compressor supposed to go with him, with Get Stormy not far behind? Guess not. Little Mike took the race from wire to wire, giving Dale Roman (Shackleford) his second stakes score on the card.

Very little movement on the oddsboard since 3 pm. Union Rags just floated from 9/2 to 5/1 favorite, and everyone else is within a point of where they were two hours ago.

I'll post the willpays page for those of you still aive in anything if it ever comes up, and unless something fascinating happens in the next hour, I'll be back after the race. Good luck and safe trips to all.


5:20 pm: Here are the willpays for the pick-3, pick-4 and pick-6. Looks like 12 of the 20 Derby horses are covered in the pick-6, with a $1.3 million carryover if Daddy Long Legs, Optimizer, Take Charge Indy, Rousing Sermon, Trinniberg, Prospective, Done Talking or Liaison wins.

Note that Bodemeister is favored in the pick-3, pick-4 and pick-6, with Union Rags favored in the win pool and double.

7:15 pm: Quick thoughts:

* As Derbies go, that was a pretty satisfying one. I'll Have Another was a thoroughly deserving winner under a masterful ride from Mario Gutierrez. But I think the Preakness favorite might be...

*Bodemeister, who could not have been more brilliant in defeat -- throwing down the gauntlet, carving out some of the fastest fractions in Derby history, and only succumbing in the final yards. And that was some late hit he took at the windows, going from 6-1 to 4-1 in the biggest win pool of the year.

*The Southern California road to the Derby produced four of the first six finishers -- I'll Have Another, Bodemeister, Creative Cause (5th) and Liaison (6th) -- ran in the San Felipe, Santa Anita Derby or both.

*There are five Grade 1 Derby preps and the winners of all five were in the race. Box them and you hit the $1.532.80 trifecta of I'll Have Another (SA Derby), Bodemeister (Arkansas Derby) and Dullahan (Blue Grass). The other two were Wood Memorial winner Gemologist (16th) and FLorida Derby winner Take Charge Indy (19th).

*Union Rags had traffic problems at the start and down the backstretch and actually ran pretty well to move up from 19th to 7th, beaten 7 1/2 lengths. Don't count him out of things just yet.




Eddie S More than 1 year ago
Steve, the only reason Bode ran well was because the other jockeys who were riding speed horses decided to rate their mounts on a speed favoring track. He was uncontested...add the fact that the Rag was riden by a bafoon who has no balls....What an overated race....
Joe Orefice More than 1 year ago
don't expect went the day well to go in the preakness. motion will almost certainly hpld him out until the belmont. I expect union rags will go in preakness with a new rider. would be really interested in playing him with a middle to outside draw. Bodemeister will be egregiously overbet in the preakness and will probably be the favorite even with i'll have another in the race. UR might just be a pretty square price.
william More than 1 year ago
went the day well made a big move
Jack More than 1 year ago
If a Jockey has a CLOCK in his head it's a "COO-COO" Mike Smith was a BAD choice Mr Baffert when you have Bejarano or Matin Garcia. This is the SAME Mike Smith that GOT the Great Zenyata beat. Just another STUPID ride by the OVERATED Mike Smith...
James Turner More than 1 year ago
This is the same Mike Smith that rode Zenyata when she became the first and only mare to win the B.C. Classic. This is also the same Mike Smith who rode Bode to victory in the Arkansas Derby when Bode needed the money to get into the Derby.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's pretty clear that Bafford made the call to go for broke in the Derby. However, Bode did not need to have a five length lead at the top of the streach. Not a smart ride!
David Sias More than 1 year ago
Wow. That's really all I can say. Mike Smith is one of the greats of his time. From every race on Zenyatta to his incredible ride aboard Giacomo in his derby. You need to relax. What, did he steal your girlfriend?
Stuart More than 1 year ago
Why do jockeys always put these speed types on the rail for the stretch run? It is far easier to see what is coming mid track by simply looking over your left shoulder. AT this point, especially if the rail is dead, saving ground should be the last thing on your mind. Remember that line from Seabiscuit, "Get off of that damn rail, get in the middle of the track, and watch inside and to your outside for that late running horse! They love to come home outside of you. Don't stay on that rail, you will never see it coming.!" And of course, the jockey stayed on the rail and did not see it coming and was passed and Howard tore him a new one and almost took him off the horse. I know its Hollywood but they claim it was exactly what was said between the two.
Robert Finch More than 1 year ago
Well as long as I am logged in may as well comment on all the flak Mike Smith is getting for his ride. Race horses are not the family car with a speedometer ,accelerator ,and brake. Race riding is very much a negotiation between the horse and rider balancing what the rider would like to do and what the horse wants to do. He needed to get away from the gate clean but once you step on the gas with these horses sometimes they just won't come back to you. I would guess Smith knows the horse well and did what he thought best far be it for any of us to second guess him.
Blair Stewart More than 1 year ago
Did anyone else see Smith going with left hand whip down the stretch? Why Wasn't he going with the right and getting in I'll have another's face. Might not Change the out come but if there is anytime for race riding, it's in the stretch of the De ruby.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
Mike Smith owns the patented left-handed stick. Plus the conventional method is to hit left handed if your horse is inside, right handed outside. They knew going in that there were only 3 horses who could come and get him. That's why he said "when I saw it was Doug's horse, I knew I was in trouble."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
They went for broke and Bode could not finish with the 126lbs as fast as they thought. He simply went to fast and had nothing left.
Sam Costadina More than 1 year ago
Sam C Brooklyn N.Y. Bodemeister was the horse to beat.. This was his Race and was ready for tMike you should have waited till you were at the Stretch then open up ..They Never Would have caught you... .Next time if he runs at the Preakness keep the horse away from the rail and Mike do not turn around when you are down the Stretch Run Horses to watch Creative Cause Dullahan, and I:ll Have Another Box This If They Are Running in THE Preakness SAM I AM
Robin Dawson More than 1 year ago
It was a good Derby and, for a change, well-presented by NBC, who have finally cottoned-on to the fact that its nice to see other races (Turf Classic) during the build-up. I thought the Lava Man touch was great.
Felton Suthon More than 1 year ago
Congratulations to the winners and to those who ran well. California mattered this year and it looks like Kentucky racing on the fake stuff matters too. Hansen could spend a profitable summer chasing 1 1/16 derbies. We could see a BC dirt mile featuring Shackelford, Caleb's Posse, To Honour and Serve, Jackson's Bend, Hansen and Bodemeister - what a juicy race that would be!
mrm More than 1 year ago
Bode just got beat in the Derby. Do you really think his connections have a race like the BC dirt mile in their plans? With seasoning there is no doubt Bode would be a top contender in the Classic.