04/24/2012 2:50PM

2012 Kentucky Derby: Creative Cause following Harrington's plan perfectly

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Creative Cause worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 at Hollywood Park on Tuesday.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – From the time Creative Cause crossed the wire a close third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last fall at Churchill Downs, trainer Mike Harrington had his sights set on returning for the Kentucky Derby, and mapped out a plan to get there. He wanted three races this winter at Santa Anita, well spaced, concluding with the Santa Anita Derby, designed, as he put it, as “a progression.”

With the exception of narrow losses in both the San Vicente Stakes and the Santa Anita Derby, everything has gone exactly as Harrington would have hoped. Creative Cause knocked out a win in the San Felipe between those two losses. Here it is 24 1/2 weeks since the Breeders’ Cup, and Creative Cause is about to leave his home at Betfair Hollywood Park as one of the elite contenders for the 138th Kentucky Derby on May 5.

“Knock on wood, for once a plan worked out,” Harrington said at his barn on Tuesday morning, just after watching Creative Cause work five furlongs. “That’s kind of unbelievable.”

Creative Cause was one of two top Derby prospects to work on Tuesday. At Churchill Downs, Bodemeister – who won the Arkansas Derby after finishing second to Creative Cause in the San Felipe – was timed by Daily Racing Form in 1:00.62 for five furlongs.

[KENTUCKY DERBY WORKOUTS: Latest updates, Mike Welsch’s video reports]

Creative Cause completed his five furlongs in 1:00.20, according to Hollywood Park’s head clocker, Russell Hudak, who had Creative Cause completing his final quarter-mile in 24.60 seconds and galloping out six furlongs in 1:14. John Cisneros, a former jockey who is now Harrington’s assistant, was up for the work.

Most significantly, Creative Cause did not work with blinkers, and he will not race with them in the Kentucky Derby, Harrington said. Creative Cause removed blinkers for his last race, the Santa Anita Derby, in which he dropped a close decision to I’ll Have Another. Last week, Harrington worked Creative Cause in cheater blinkers, which are the least-restrictive type of blinker, since they have a very small cup. But he took those off for the work on Tuesday.

“Joel,” Harrington said, referring to jockey Joel Rosario, who rides Creative Cause in his races, “said he relaxes better without them, which could be important in the Kentucky Derby.”

Harrington said he also liked that Creative Cause “ran straight and true down the lane” in the Santa Anita Derby. In the San Felipe, wearing blinkers, he tended to wander, though he did win.

Creative Cause is scheduled to fly to Kentucky on Saturday, along with I’ll Have Another, who is trained by Doug O’Neill. Harrington said he plans to work Creative Cause once at Churchill Downs, ideally next Tuesday, as long as the weather cooperates.

“It depends on the weather,” he said. “I would prefer to breeze him, but he doesn’t have to.”

At Churchill Downs, Bodemeister had his first work since his overpowering victory 10 days earlier in the Arkansas Derby, which has made him the likely favorite for the Derby. His trainer, Bob Baffert, arrived in Louisville on Monday night and supervised Tuesday’s drill.

“I thought it was a nice work,” Baffert said. “He did it on his own. He could have gone 58 if we wanted him to.”

Bodemeister will be coming back on three weeks’ rest in the Kentucky Derby. In addition, he is trying to become the first horse since Apollo in 1882 to win the Derby without having competed at age 2.

“I’m not worried at all,” Baffert said. “He’s got a huge foundation under him, he’s very fit, and he’s got a great mind. He’s only gotten hot once before any of his races. Post position is going to be so key.”

Bodemeister had a clear run in the Arkansas Derby, in which he started from the outside post. A field of 20 is likely for the Derby, and Baffert still wears the scars from when his champion colt Lookin at Lucky drew the rail in the 2010 Derby.

Bodemeister figures to be forwardly placed in the Derby, but Baffert said the addition of the speedy Trinniberg should not impact Bodemeister.

“I think he’ll be more of a hindrance to Hansen than me,” Baffert said. “Distance is not a problem for this horse.”

Bodemeister is scheduled to work once more, either Sunday or Monday, Baffert said.

Baffert, a three-time Derby winner, will have two horses in this Derby – Bodemeister (Mike Smith aboard) and Liaison (Martin Garcia).

– additional reporting by Mike Welsch

Gene Martin More than 1 year ago
The most shocking part of the whole article is that Mike Harrington actually spoke to Jay Privman!
BP More than 1 year ago
He's got a "huge foundation"under him?? Come on, Bob.... But I love when I have a Derby ffave I can throw out with confidence
Mooch J More than 1 year ago
Let me see; I'm gonna run my horse in blinkers, then one race before the KD I will take blinkers off, then I will decide to put "cheater blinkers" on for the KD, then I will decide to leave the blinkers off. That sounds anything but a perfect plan. Making adjustments or winging it maybe, but a perfect plan? Harrington obviously thinks he has something special. I understand the San Vicente being a prep but the SA Derby might of been also, if so he might be treating this horse too gentle picking his spots, but on the other hand he does have the look of being a bit distance challenged. The claims of him hanging because he's not focused? He was focused right into I'll Have Another's eyeball in which he had no answer for. Unfocused or distanced challenged?
Eric Singer More than 1 year ago
A careful look back at Bodemeister's win in the AK Derby reveals some fairly pedestrian middle fractions. Yes it looked great and he got away setting a pretty slow pace and came home well. Perhaps that suggests he can rate? He better be able to - the pace will be hot early in the Derby. Hansen ran better than looked (or Beyered) last out. Setting fast early fractions and still running home well. He sports a grade 1 win on track, is fresh and coming synth to dirt as he did last year for the juvenile. Creative Cause may be fit, ready and able to get the trip - and watching him are you sure he has the heart to win? I will use him 2 - 4 but not on top. The only way he wins is by accident. If pne of these look him in the eyes - - - not so much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bodemeister had no competition for the lead and Secret Circle, his stablemate, was probably injured during the race. He barely held second over Sabrecat. Bodemeister looked great but he did not get a true test of his ability under pressure. Will he react as when Creative Cause went by him, or will he hang in there? I suspect he won't especially with Trinniberg and Hansen, Gemologist, Union Rags, Take Charge Indy, Daddy Long Legs, Creative Cause, I'll Have Another , Mark Valeski and Alpha all capable of being on or near the lead. With well seasoned closers Like Daddy Nose Best, Dullahan (who I think is distance challenged) and Went the Day Well, it is anybody's guess what the outcome will be. Works, post positions. jockeys and track conditions on Derby Day need to be factored in as well. It is definitely a very difficult Derby to figure out.
Blaine MacMillan More than 1 year ago
Bodmeister has never won WITHOUT the lead throughout. This is not to say he can't rate and win, but I believe he's not as dominant when he's gotta rate. We'll find out in another 11 days.
MnMTBreds More than 1 year ago
Perfect post for Bode' would something like the 12-18. If he gets that he will be very tough for the others to handle.
Panama Stallion More than 1 year ago
I'm curious to know just what was Liaison's workout on monday. Since Mr. Baffert had stated that Liaison's possibility of running in the KD was directly dependant on that workout and I had commented on the forum that Liaison could walk in his workout, stop, throw the rider off and still be pointed towards the Derby, I would like to know what the result of the workout was that made up Mr. Baffert's mind that Liaison should run in the Derby.
Rodney Dangerfield More than 1 year ago
Bob's talking smack already “I think he’ll be more of a hindrance to Hansen than me,” Baffert said. “Distance is not a problem for this horse.”
Mooch J More than 1 year ago
He could go 2 miles allowed to jog along, but 1 1/4 miles under pressure, if he does that I give him permission to win the triple crown
Jeff Byrd More than 1 year ago
Baffert isnt the only one wearing scars of the 1 hole..two years in a row for this guy.
Maynard More than 1 year ago
PP 1 is tied with PP 5 for the most Derby wins. A speed horse in PP 1 with a fast break from the gate has an advantage. It amuses me that people are worried that only Apollo has won the Derby without starts at 2 when there probably has been only a very small proportion that have tried it, and yet they are blind to the success of PP 1. Why aren't Gemologist and El Padrino getting a work at CD? In the last 20 derbies only two winners did not get a CD work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
By my count post position 1 has only won the race once with a field of 20 and that was War Admiral.