05/19/2012 8:27PM

Beyer: A defining moment for I'll Have Another in the Preakness

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Jenny Burgos
After patiently waiting to launch their winning bid in the Preakness, I'll Have Another and Mario Gutierrez outfinish Bodemeister and Mike Smith.

BALTIMORE - I’ll Have Another came into the Preakness facing one of the toughest possible tactical situations in racing. His most formidable rival, Bodemeister, was the solitary front-runner in the field and would be able to control the pace as his jockey dictated. That’s usually a formula for victory whether the scenario develops in a maiden race or the second leg of the Triple Crown.

So when I’ll Have Another made his last surge in the Pimlico stretch and caught the leader, this wasn’t simply a case of a stretch-runner overhauling a tired leader. Bodemeister is a superior speed horse, and he ran as well today as he has ever done in his short career. I’ll Have Another’s performance - though the winning margin was only a neck - was much more impressive and authoritative than his triumph in the Kentucky Derby two weeks earlier.

He and Bodemeister both ran fast and trounced the rest of the field by almost nine lengths, erasing the impression that is a mediocre group of 3-year-olds.

In the Derby, Bodemeister had to set a torrid pace in order to outrun other fast rivals, and I’ll Have Another’s little-known jockey, Mario Gutierrez, secured a perfect trip to rally and catch the tired favorite in the stretch. But when the other speed horses defected from the Preakness field, Gutierrez was put in a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t position. Should he try to put pressure on Bodemeister, and risk enervating his own mount, or let Bodemeister have an unchallenged lead. Before the race, Gutierrez told trainer Doug O’Neill: “If he goes slow I want to beat on top of him.” O’Neill assented.

But when the gate opened at Pimlico, Gutierrez did something that demonstrated a coolness and sophistication that few people would have expected from a jockey who had spent most of his life in the minor leagues. He didn’t try to impose his will on his horse. He neither restrained I’ll Have Another nor pushed him to chase Bodemeister. He got him out of the gate with alacrity, but then was willing to let I’ll Have Another run his own race.

As Bodemeister took command early, another rival, Creative Cause, tried to chase the leader and apply mild pressure while I’ll Have Another settled into fourth place and got hung three-wide on the first turn. As owner Paul Reddam watched, he was fretting: “When he got caught wide at the first turn, I was saying ‘I don’t know if I like this.’”

Jockey Mike Smith, meanwhile, loved the way the Preakness was developing. He was nursing Bodemeister on the lead, maintaining a one-length advantage over Creative Cause, and his mount was behaving perfectly. Bodemeister wasn’t headstrong, as young horses with his running style can be; he cruised on the lead and hit the half-mile mark in 47.68 seconds - a soft pace that should have given him an insuperable advantage. It was the slowest half-mile in the Preakness since 1982, when Aloma’s Ruler went in :48 and proceeded to lead all the way. The racing strip at Pimlico Saturday was relatively slow, but the track was no slower than last year, when Shackleford vied for the lead in 46.87 and went on to win.

Bob Coglianese

1978

Affirmed beats Alydar by a nose in the Belmont to become the 11th, and last, Triple Crown winner.

Bodemeister shook off the ineffectual challenge of Creative Cause on the turn and opened a three-length advantage in the stretch. That’s when Gutierrez asked his mount to run in earnest. At first, he barely cut into the leader’s margin; Bodemeister was still strong after those slow fractions.   An eighth of a mile from the finish line, I’ll Have Another still looked beaten.  That was Smith’s impression. “I thought I put him away,” the Hall-of-Famer said. Bodemeister’s trainer, Bob Baffert, was feeling confident, too: “I really thought he was going to do.”

But in that final furlong, to the roar of 121,309 people, I’ll Have Another surged powerfully and Bodemeister could not repel the challenge, just as he couldn’t repel it at Churchill Downs. Though the finish at Pimlico may have looked much like the Derby to casual observers, this race helped redefine both horses - and this equine generation.

I’ll Have Another’s final time of 1:55.94 was a super effort considering the slowness of the racing strip. He and Bodemeister earned preliminary Beyer Speed Figures of 109, which would be the fastest Preakness performance since Curlin - the eventual horse of the year - won in 2007. The winner is not in the league of Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Affirmed - names that will be evoked frequently in the next three weeks as I’ll Have Another aims to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978. But he proved at Pimlico that he is worthy of the task.

(c) 2012, The Washington Post

chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Good Morning Andy... Time to come clean. And now to AKA Anonymous for the topic.
CM CM More than 1 year ago
ok watched read all everyone has to say belmont results ........street life dullhan IAH ROUSING SERMON UNION RAGS ............
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
there is no intentional bashing, here, on Andy, personally, his figs are often over-hyped, inaccurate, etc. The one comment I always said was, :Andy couldn't carry my DRF", which is my opinion. As Cecil just said, there is too much bad speak here, confidence is one thing, losing (and winning humbly) is another. The Best commentary on the Belmont, and on Bode and IHA individually, was just had on ,(ISYN) TVG, Nick Heinz, and Christina Olivares!
Cecil Van Duzee More than 1 year ago
All the bad-speak in this thread has me sick. I'll Have Another and Bodemeister can BOTH prove they are among the greatest of all time; but Bode will never be beaten by IHA at 9 furlongs. And Bode will never get the nod at 10. I'd love to see Bode in the Met Mile. IHA can do the Triple Crown if he can get by Dullahan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Never say never can get beat as Bodie is 2 wins for 6 start horse. If you had said, key for first 2nd in exotics you would have cashed 6 times.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
There is no such thing as never in horseracing. Whenever we see a 1/9 odd, that's a "never" in most people's mind, yet they lose more than 10% of the time. In my opinion, if IHA and Bode meet at 9f 10 times, IHA will win about 8 out of 10 simply because he wants it more. Finally, if a horse comes in second by 1.5L in a 10f race and by a head in a 9.5f race, especially when he looked home free but just happen to run into a special one, it doesn't mean that he should become a miler. Most trainers would maintain that this horse in a 10f horse. You have to deal with a completely different dimensions of runners at a mile - every time you start in a G1 mile race, you have to deal with several fleet footers capable of 22/44 splits sleepwalking and closers with a much bigger punch at 1m than routing closers. Bodemeister is a 10f horse. The son of Empire Maker is not a miler. If he runs to the end of the year, he will start the BC Classic. He will not even be nominated to the Dirt Mile. He may not be a world beater at 10f, but exceptional nevertheless, a Medaglia d'Oro type. I will take 2x seconds in the BCC and 1x second in the Dubai World Cup over winning the Dirt Mile and the Godolphin Mile anytime, in terms of both prestige and financially. $1mil for coming in second in the BCC and $2mil in the DWC, vs. $600k each for winning the Mile races. You'll get the same amount for coming in 3rd in the BCC and 4th in the DWC. You can charge double in stud fee for coming in second in the BCC than winning the Dirt Mile.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bode is formidable at 12F, too. BB is doing the right thing, imo, however, and giving the horse the rest he deserves.. I can't agree completely at your assertion the 8 outa 10 is accurate, especially with so little seasoning on Bode as a 2yo,none, right?
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
And a defining moment in a man Beyer, is what? Perhaps the moment when he rights his wrongs?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Please, get on topic, let this go!!
Douglas Rutherford More than 1 year ago
ILL HAVE ANOTHER : will go down in defeat . 1st of all , the colts that have an Advantage are the ones that have already had a Start over the track - prior - to the Kentucky Derby . This ( Use ) to be a huge factor thru-out the years . I would say this might be the year it comes to life once again . I have not been this excited about the Belmont Stakes in a long tme . UNION RAGS : in my opinion looks like a Solid - Best - Bet ( If Stays Fit -Sound ) into the starting gate . I ow all eyes are on ILL HAVE ANOTHER , as rightly so , should be ! After all , people are all most ready to drink the sand - waiting for another Triple Crown for so long . BUT ITS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN ! " Plain and Simple " You will hear for the next two weeks how UNION RAGS can run that far ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaa . TEST of the CHAMPION ...................................... Belmont Stakes is where winners are Crowned for the Breeding - Not the Kentucky Derby . And im even born and raised out-side Lexington , Ky . The Derby is wonderful to Win , by all means . But the Belmont Stakes is where CHAMPIONS are made . UNION RAGS in a ROMP drawing away
Bsb Jaws More than 1 year ago
HA HA HA , now thats funny
Bill Chandler More than 1 year ago
I'll have another milkshake
Andrew More than 1 year ago
Just reminding the venerable Andy that these "unsophisticated " fans remember him picking BodeChrister twice. And he wasn't particularly genteel about the first loss. Who is he picking to upset IHA in the Belmont? His man-crush Baffert is running a horse with the same loveable OPEC owner (laughed my head off when NBC did the peice on Pimlico piping water into his RV so he could shower...um...right) Let's get to the prognosticatin AB!!! Chop chop.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Andy's pick hit board twice, keying him in Derby was a fine payday, and in Preak the betting public went with Bode in a 'turn the tables bet.'
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I watch horse racing for fun. Most of you guys are pathetic.
Blaine MacMillan More than 1 year ago
At least we have a hobby. Your hobby is hating on those who have hobbies. You're Pathetic. And a troll.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Andrew... It's past 11, time to apologize to Jockey Martinez. Oh, also Trinniberg worked a half in 47 flat this morning.