05/08/2012 5:27PM

Kentucky Derby aftermath: Top 5 questions


Before we move on to the Preakness, we need to take a look back at the burning questions remaining from this year's Kentucky Derby and what they mean going forward in the Triple Crown season:

1. Is Trinniberg to blame for Bodemeister not holding on to win?
When speedster Trinniberg was entered in the Derby last week, the immediate popular reaction was that he'd ruin the pace for the other speeds, namely Bodemeister and Hansen. But Trinniberg did not succeed in making the lead at any point in the race. According to the official Kentucky Derby race chart, he ran second behind Bodemeister all the way up until the one-mile mark before quickly fading to 17th place.

Bodemeister went straight to the lead and set blistering fractions of 22.32 seconds, equaling the Derby's fifth-fastest quarter ever; a half-mile in 45.39, the fifth-fastest half-mile; and six furlongs in 1:09.80, the fourth-fastest six furlongs. [Bodemeister's fast fractions take toll]

Shortly after the race, NYRA's Andy Serling posted on Twitter: "It is too bad that Trinniberg cost a monster like Bodemeister the win but I guess that's racing." Said Bodemeister trainer Bob Baffert, "I'll have nightmares about [Trinniberg]."

The million-dollar question heading into the Preakness: Did Bodemeister have to run that fast because of Trinniberg, who may very well be the best sprinter in this class, or is Bodemeister incapable of rating on the lead?

2. Bodemeister has been run hard with two huge races in the past three weeks. If he returns in the Preakness Stakes, as are the early indications, does he deserve to be the favorite?

Said DRF's Steven Crist: "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." [Crist: 2012 Derby Day]

Said DRF's Mike Watchmaker: "But man, let me say what is sure to be said by so many after this Derby: What a monster race Bodemeister ran in defeat. For Bodemeister to finish second after setting that insanely fast early pace suggests that he is indeed a very special colt -- quite likely, with all due respect to I'll Have Another, the best of his generation. But I wouldn't expect Bodemeister to prove that in the Preakness, or any time soon. He had a busy schedule to make the Derby, and with his gut wrenching performance Saturday, I would guess he is going to need more time to recover than a mere two weeks." [Watchmaker: Derby Day at the Downs]

For his part, Pimlico morning-line maker Frank Carulli said Tuesday that if all three of the Derby's top finishers enter the Preakness, he will make Bodemeister the favorite, with I'll Have Another the second betting choice and Dullahan third.


3. Union Rags was slow to get out of the gate for the second consecutive race, going back to the Florida Derby loss. According to the chart, "UNION RAGS bumped and squeezed back at the start, was outrun along the rail ..." Is jockey Julien Leparoux to blame? Should he remain on the mount going forward?

That sounds harsh but it appears that Union Rags's connections may be asking the same questions. "We talked about it with Julien and we wanted to be third or fourth coming out of the first turn," Union Rags trainer Michael Matz said. "There’s a big difference between third and 18th. It seemed like everything Julien tried put him in the wrong situation. I guess he just couldn’t get it done." As DRF's Mike Welsch reported, Matz said he would discuss the jockey situation with the horse’s owners. [Matz calls Union Rags’s race a disaster]

4. Is it safe to say third-place finisher Dullahan is not a synth specialist?
Dullahan came into the Derby with a pair of Grade 1 stakes victories on his past performances. Both wins, however, came on the Keeneland synthetic track. Does his third-place showing remove doubts about his dirt worthiness? Watchmaker believes so: "Dullahan ran well to just miss getting second from Bodemeister. And while he isn't in the same class as Bodemeister, I think Dullahan proved that he can indeed handle dirt." [Watchmaker: Derby Day at the Downs]

5. Which horse had the least excuse for not winning?
Many disappointing performances to choose from here: Where was Alpha? Gemologist? Daddy Nose Best? Jump into the comments and make a case.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I see a lot of comments saying why certain horses didn't win but why or why have two two two horses come from no where, and no expert handicapper per been able to foresee their talent. I am speaking of 2009 MIne the Bird and 2011 I'll have Another. What talent did everyone miss in these two horses. What was everyone focused on the loosing horses that made us miss these two winn ers. I would like a little help thinking through this! Thanks!
steve szymanski More than 1 year ago
Jerome Moynihan More than 1 year ago
baffert's colt is still lightly raced and will only get tougher to beat. distance wont hurt him and i pick him now to win at pimlico and again at belmont
IHAnother More than 1 year ago
1. Very likely - nobody else was going to push Bode. 2. Yes - this race plays to his strengths in the way the Derby didn't. 3. Julien wasn't to blame but U Rags is a grinder who needs a more aggressive rider to get a piece. 4. IHA 3 for 3 in dirt routes. Dullahan 0 for 4 on dirt. Bring on the grass. 5. This year's wiseguy horse Daddy doesn't know best.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
3) UR won the G2 Saratoga Special on the lead, 22 and 45s splits. 4) Dullahan also 0 for 3 on grass and he has earned 400% more purse money on dirt than grass so we can't say that he's a better grass horse. Synthetic specialist, perhaps Dubai World Cup horse?
OwenJ More than 1 year ago
Where was Creative Cause?
Jimee63 More than 1 year ago
I am no rookie to this sport. However, I am completely puzzled as to why more of the derby horses didn't fire. Was this crop of three year olds vastly overrated? While there was a blistering pace, the final time was nothing to write home about. And yes, I do think UR should have a new jockey nexr time out.
AssKsser More than 1 year ago
The hair product and Trump comb forward hair styles of Mike Beer and Dan Illman has now reached that of Saturday Night Live proportions. Mike and Dan.. The password is... mirror.
Beef More than 1 year ago
All these peeps keep talking about some of the horses that came home the best in the Kentucky Derby (horses such as Went The Day Well, Dullahan, Union Rags, and Creative Cause) having a great chance in the Preakness....ARE KIDDING THEMSELVES!!! Do they not follow horse racing??? The Preakness has always been won by primarily a speed type horse that usually faired well in the Kentucky Derby. Just like Shackelford last year.....or like Louis Quatorze in 1996. The above horses have a better chance of winning in the Belmont perhaps.....but the Preakness.........is all Bodiemeister.....slam dunk.
steve szymanski More than 1 year ago
Ok, Lou sir.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
Turns out that Peeps are right, Beef is wrong. In the past 20 years, these Derby also-rans came from off the pace to win the Preakness: Lookin at Lucky, Curlin, Afleet Alex, Point Given, Timber Country, Prairie Bayou, Pine Bluff. Let's throw Tabasco Cat who won tracking in there. That's 40% compared to 35% or 7 Derby/Preakness sweeps. You were right about Shackleford, I have to give credit where credit is due. But that's 5%. When did you start following races? It couldn't have been 1996, or you would have known that Louis Quatorze didn't quite "come home best in the Kentucky Derby". In fact he wasn't even a Bodemeister or Shackleford type speed horse, and he won the Preakness only because Grindstone did not run.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Trinniberg was never going to win the KD, yet Bode had to lead. If the rider had been anyone but Smith, wouldn't the ride be questioned more? 3/5ths second slower half or 6 furlongs and Bode would be the champion.
steve szymanski More than 1 year ago
Bode ran 4 races going into the Derby. He preped for it with fast workouts. The connection that the 2x he didn't get the lead, he LOST. The 2x he did get the lead, he WON. Smith did the right thing in getting him in front. I am just surprized he lasted. To be honest...Five mre jumps after the wire, the 3-4-5 horse all ran by him. He is the typical speedball who needs an easy lead. See his prep race. If he goes 1:11 or faster in the Preakness....he loses again. HANDICAP THE PACE - NOT THE RACE.
Eric Rickard More than 1 year ago
Gemologist did not have an excuse. Just not good enough. Whom has he beat? Alpha. UM!!!!! he had no excuse either. Whom has he beat? ......... Union Rags, just never progressed from 2. Daddy nose Best, see above. These horses need to race each other, not ship around and avoid. Creative Cause, I'll have another, Bodiemeister. all race against each other.
Easthampton Bookstore More than 1 year ago
I didn't have a dime on the horse, but another neglected aspect of the Derby is the failed failed attempt to rate Hansen. He was very rank under restraint. I think they will let him go back to his usual front-running style if he goes in the Preakness. Hansen could be mixing it up early with Bodemeister, which I think could compromise both of their chances. If Bodemeister's posse is having nightmares about Trinnberg, wait until they have to deal with the ultra game grey beast Hansen up front.