05/05/2012 7:13PM

Kentucky Derby 2012: Bodemeister's fast fractions take toll

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Audrey C. Crosby
After setting a fast pace, Bodemeister, with jockey Mike Smith up, was unable to hold off I'll Have Another in the stretch of the Kentucky Derby.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – In the end, Bodemeister might have been too fast for his own good.

After setting a strong early pace – which included the fourth-fastest six-furlong time (1:09.80) in the 138-year history of the race – Bodemeister, under Mike Smith, couldn’t hold off I’ll Have Another and finished second, beaten 1 1/2 lengths, in Saturday’s $2 million Kentucky Derby before an announced record crowd of 165,307 at Churchill Downs.

It marked the third time in the last four years that a horse owned by Ahmed Zayat finished second in the Kentucky Derby. He owned Pioneerof the Nile (2009) and Nehro (2011). In 2010, Zayat’s brilliant Wood Memorial winner Eskendereya was declared due to injury from the Derby, for which he most certainly would have been the favorite.

“I’m blessed, how could I be mad? He’s a brilliant horse,” Zayat said of Bodemeister. “Crazy fractions. He’s a brilliant horse; thank you God, I’m very happy if you believe me. Did I want it? Yes. But I have a brilliant horse and a brilliant trainer.”

Bodemeister is trained by Bob Baffert, who has won three Kentucky Derbies, but who now has three Derby second-place finishes.

Baffert knew Bodemeister was going fast, but added “he looked like he was doing it easy. I was thinking War Emblem,” Baffert’s 2002 Derby winner.

Bodemeister was trying to become the first horse in 130 years – since Apollo in 1882 – to win the Derby without racing as a 2-year-old. He got to the Derby with a brilliant front-running, 9 1/2-length victory in the Arkansas Derby three weeks ago.

Baffert and Smith employed those same front-running tactics in the Kentucky Derby as Bodemeister outsprinted Trinniberg to the lead. Bodemeister ran an opening quarter in 22.32 seconds – equaling the fifth-fastest quarter – a half-mile in 45.39 – the fifth-fastest half-mile fraction – and six furlongs in 1:09.80 – the fourth-fastest six furlongs.

Baffert thought that if Trinniberg wasn’t in the field, Bodemeister would have been able to go slower.

“I’ll have nightmares about that horse,” said Baffert, who watched the race in the paddock with several family members.

Taking about Bodemeister, Baffert said, “He’s a hell of a horse. It looked like he was doing it easy. He’s such a good horse. He ran hard.”
Smith said he knew Bodemeister was going fast, but he didn’t want to have to wrestle with the horse early to get him off the pace.

“I caught a flyer leaving there and I thought if anything came easy I was going to take advantage of it, that was my game plan going,” Smith said. “He’s such a free-running, talented horse. It cost me at the end, but he ran dynamite.”

Bodemeister didn’t make his first start until Jan. 16 and didn’t win his first race until Feb. 11. After running second to Creative Cause in the San Felipe, Bodemeister stamped himself the Kentucky Derby favorite by winning the Arkansas Derby. Bodemeister went off a 4-1 favorite over Union Rags (5-1).

“It’s just incredible, I think he’s a super horse,” Smith said. “Lightly raced, and to run the way he ran, I mean he won really, just somebody finished in front of him that’s all.”

Baffert, who suffered a heart attack six weeks ago in Dubai, didn’t lose his sense of humor in defeat.

“The stretch is so long, it’s way too long I always complained about that,” Baffert said. “I knew [deep stretch] when he was getting after him, he was running out of horse. I saw a horse coming, he just laid his body down.”

Richard Signor More than 1 year ago
i JUST LOVE THIS HORSE AND HIS DESIRE! THANK YOU TEAM BAFFERT
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Ladies and Gentlemen(?) - To some it's not about the horses. It's about The White Maned Wizard who has them under his spell and I just don't get it!
Ron Fox More than 1 year ago
You don't have too. You have Trinni, remember?
Chas Backus More than 1 year ago
All i got to say is everyone seen the fractions and said he would die but Bode hung in right till the end....great horse if you ask me ......sad he didnt win but ill root for ill have another just for sake of a triple crown winner even though i dont believe he will take next two races..........great crop of three year olds this year
mikey More than 1 year ago
Bode is just another 9 furlong horse...endofstory....all these whining about Smith's ride is bs....that track was awfully fast to begin with....what 2 records were set?....wow....they juiced that track and Bode couldn't hold 10 furlongs because we do not breed speed with stamina anymore....CASE CLOSED!!
Ian Fick More than 1 year ago
You have no idea what you are talking about. you are clearly an imbecile.
Chas Backus More than 1 year ago
i dont understand what u mean do not breed speed with stamina anymore......his bloodline looks legit to me
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
good comment - look at his Beyer, folks. His speed figure doesn't lie. Peace Rules ran a better front-running Derby on a track that was nowhere near as speed-biased as this one. And Peace Rules was all-heart, who won several grade Is afterward. Yet, his grueling pace caught up to him in the Preakness, just as Bodemeister's fast pace is likely to catch up with him in the Preakness under very similar odds/circumstances.
Stargazer46 More than 1 year ago
What a moron you are ...Bode had the 2nd best Tomlinson for the distance in the race. He was most certainly bred to go that far and he could have run it easily if he could learn to relax a little. He's very lightly raced and he will mature and learn that. Just a tough loss for him in the Derby. Bob told Mike to let him run HIS race....and he did. He fries em in the Preakness.
frank More than 1 year ago
Mike Smith ran an idiot race. He burnt his horse up with crazy fractions. All he had to do was let the sprinter have the lead, relax his horse, and take the lead in the strech. He cost the owners and the public a Derby win. He should be taken off the horse and replaced with someone who hasn't lost it.
frank More than 1 year ago
Mike Smith ran an idiot race. The fractions were killer and all he had to do was sit behind the sprinter and take the lead in the strech. He cost the owners and the public a Derby win. I would take him off the horse.
Ian Fick More than 1 year ago
Only thing I can really figure, (since snith is really no dummy) is that he was PAID to lose ......Same thing with Zenyatta and the Holy Bull. He sold his services to the MOB!
Stargazer46 More than 1 year ago
Your tinfoil hat is on too tight. Better get back behind the couch, I think the mob is in that car across the road from your house......sshhhh
Jay Winston More than 1 year ago
Great horses do run with more than one style. When a horse has to go to the lead it's because that's all it knows. Blame the trainer.
James Turner More than 1 year ago
There is nothing to blame on the trainer or jockey. The trainer had the horse perfectly conditioned, the jockey rode exactly as a horse with brilliant speed should be ridden and the result was they outran 18 horses. With a little more growth and maturity Bode may blossom into a true champion. People who publcly whine and make ridiculous accusations should take up bingo. There are a hundred ways to lose a race and only one way to win. If youlose a race you think you should have won, well as Doyle Brunson would say if he were a handicapper instead of a poker player....."thats racing folks".
don More than 1 year ago
Look up what I said before the race bet I'll have another with all and all in tri I won big money,plus win money on him.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
.So Baffert Isn't Trinnidad a beautiful place... Palm trees n a cool breeze... Sets of young horses galloping in the surf... Beautiful.