04/16/2012 3:08PM

Kentucky Derby: Bodemeister jumps into spotlight

Christopher Coady/Coady Phoitography
Bodemeister (right) runs away from his Arkansas Derby rivals.

Bodemeister has come a long ways in his short career, from an unstarted maiden a little more than three months ago to the possible favorite for the Kentucky Derby following his overpowering victory in the Arkansas Derby on Saturday.

Bodemeister needed a big payday on Saturday, and he got it, banking $600,000 to take away any worry about him making the field because of insufficient earnings. He had just $60,000 going into the race.

On Monday, he along with stablemate Secret Circle and Sabercat, the second- and third-place finishers in the Arkansas Derby, made their way to Louisville, where the countdown has begun in earnest for the May 5 Derby.

Awaiting the Arkansas travelers are Dullahan and Hansen, who ran one-two on Saturday at Keeneland in the Blue Grass.

Bodemeister received a Beyer Speed Figure of 108 for the Arkansas Derby, 10 points higher than the Beyer given to Dullahan on the synthetic surface at Keeneland.

Bodemeister was ridden for the first time by Mike Smith, who will retain the mount for the Derby, according to trainer Bob Baffert. Smith also had been in line to ride Daddy Nose Best, the Sunland Derby winner, in the Kentucky Derby. That mount goes to Garrett Gomez.

The formful results of those stakes races were good news to those in danger of missing the cut for the Derby based on graded earnings. A maximum of 20 horses can run in the race, and if more than 20 are entered, the field is determined by earnings in graded stakes races. Bodemeister was the only horse to leapfrog into the top 20; Secret Circle, Sabercat, Dullahan, and Hansen already were well up the chart.

Also Monday, Richard Henry for Coolmore Stud – whose principals, John Magnier and Michael Tabor, own Wrote – confirmed that Wrote is no longer under consideration for the Derby. He was sixth on the earnings list with $756,630.

Daddy Long Legs, who beat stablemate Wrote in the United Arab Emirates Derby, is still planning on running in the Derby for trainer Aidan O’Brien, according to Henry.

Louisiana Derby winner Hero of Order, who ran last of 13 in the Blue Grass, is 11th on the earnings list, but he needs to be supplemented to the Derby, and supplemental entries cannot knock out horses originally nominated to the Derby. That’s more good news for bubble horses.

But wait, there’s more. The connections of Trinniberg, currently 17th on the earnings list, have said they are leaning against running in the Derby.

So, with Wrote out and Hero of Order basically a non-factor in terms of earnings, Rousing Sermon and Mark Valeski are safely in the field. If Trinniberg defects, that brings in El Padrino.

The horse who would then be on the bubble is Reveron, the Florida Derby runner-up. He had been under consideration for the Lexington Stakes this Saturday at Keeneland, but with his chances of making the Derby field improving, his connections on Monday said they would bypass the Lexington and await the Derby, believing that gives Reveron his best chance to perform well in the Derby. He currently has $220,000 in earnings.

For weeks, it appeared the most likely Derby favorite would be Union Rags, but his troubled third-place finish in the Florida Derby, combined with rapid ascension of Bodemeister, has thrown that into doubt. Regardless, the Derby favorite probably will be in the 9-2 or 5-1 range, owing to the quality and depth of this 3-year-old crop, whose leading members also include such accomplished runners as Alpha, Creative Cause, Dullahan, Gemologist, Hansen, I’ll Have Another, and Take Charge Indy. This Derby is shaping up as one of the best in years.

Bodemeister has proven to be the fastest of his generation this spring, with Beyer Speed Figures of 101 or more in three straight races, and is the new No. 1 in the 3-year-old division of Mike Watchmaker's weekly rankings published by Daily Racing Form. He showed far more maturity in the Arkansas Derby, his fourth lifetime start, than in the San Felipe Stakes, his previous start.

Bodemeister was on edge in the paddock for the San Felipe, yet still ran a strong race, finishing second to the highly regarded Creative Cause despite being keen the early part of the race. On Saturday, Bodemeister was much calmer before the race, and, competing without blinkers for the first time, he was relaxed while on the lead.

But Bodemeister will be bucking 130 years of history. He will be attempting to become the first horse since Apollo in 1882 to win the Derby without having made a start at age 2.

“He got behind in his training, which is the way it can be with young horses,” said Baffert assistant Jim Barnes, who saddled Bodemeister for the Arkansas Derby. “But he came around. The good ones do that. He had shins, nothing major. You can’t push them. You have to take your time and let them develop and come around.”

Baffert has had a tremendous run of luck at Oaklawn, winning 13 of the last 18 races in which he has had a runner there. Included in that streak this year was a sweep of the major stakes for 3-year-olds. He won divisions of the Southwest Stakes with Secret Circle and Castaway, and won the Rebel with Secret Circle, before the one-two finish by Bodemeister and Secret Circle in the Arkansas Derby.

“I like Oaklawn Park,” Baffert said. “The surface is kind. My horses come out of there in really good shape.”

– additional reporting by Marty McGee and Mike Welsch

Donald Cody More than 1 year ago
well my choice for the derby is as follows.. daddylonglegs..bodemaster... and illhaveanother and watch out for daddnosebetter if he runs
Donald Cody More than 1 year ago
well I have my pick for the derby here it is don't laugh easy long legs. knave another and bodemestef that's the winners
matthew_melton More than 1 year ago
this is a really nice runner. has a great chance.. the 1 1/4 is the ultimate question in a race that may have Hansen and Trinniburg to go fast. probable favorite
Douglas More than 1 year ago
PLEASE READERS : No Bashing About My Comments Below Reguarding My Way Of WAGERING On The KENTUCKY DERBY . My Comment Is Just As A Friendly Way Of Maybe ( Some Year ) Trying It . ( If For Some People ) My Way Is Way To Costfull - Then Try Getting A Group Of Frinds That You Can Depend On , and All Go In Together , Rather Its 3 People , 6 People . Have a Great Time At The Races ! Nobody Has A Clue Of A Derby TRIFECTA Outcome Pay-Off . When I hit the TRIFECTA in 2009 with One of the Favorites ( 9 PIONEER OF THE NILE ) Running 2nd , the TRIFECTA Pay-Off was $20,750 ............... 2005 with One of the Favorites ( 12 AFLEET ALEX ) Running 3rd , the TRIFECTA Pay-Off was $66,567 .................................. So You Can See The Excitement This Can Be . IT IS TO DIFFICULT TO HIT A BIG TRIFECTA PAY-OFF IN THE KENTUCKY DERBY BY JUST Betting and Boxing Here and There . Something Off The Wall Normally Shows Up That Messes Up Tickets . My Way , ( IT IS FUN ) ! Many Times , A ( Mid Favorite ) Runs In The TRIFECTA . With High Odds In The TRIFECTA As Well . This Is Why I Have Always Liked My Way , Well To Be Honest , This Was Not Really My Idea In The First Place . Many Years Ago , A Good Dear Friend Of Mine That I Use To Work For ( CHARLIE WHITTINGHAM ) One Of Our Greatest Trainers Of All Time - Gave Me This Idea Many Years Ago ...................... Because I Kept Complaining About Having The Derby Horse In The Money ( BUT LOSING ) So Many Times Because I Couldnt Seem To Pick Out The Others For My TRIFECTA . So CHARLIE WHITTINGHAM Told Me One Day While I Was Gromming , ( THAT I OUGHT TO TRY WHEELING MY PICK WITH THE WHOLE FIELD ) . In 1998 , I Started Taking CHARLIE WHITTINGHAM Advice . I Won My TRIFECTA My First Year With 12 VICTORY GALLOP , and I Ended Up Losing Money Off My Wager - But I Won . THE NEXT YEAR - CHARLIE WHITTINGHAM PASSED AWAY , APRIL 20TH .................................... I Have Played The DERBY This Way EVER SINCE ............................. At Times , I Believe CHARLIE WHITTINGHAM Is Still Looking Down At Me During The KENTUCKY DERBY Giving Me WISDOM ! I Truly Believe CHARLIE WHITTINGHAM Is With Me Every Year During The DERBY . We Lost One Of Our GREATEST OF ALL TIMES
Charles Berger More than 1 year ago
Hey, whatever works. Handicapping a 20 horse field is NOT a science. It's pretty much of a crap shoot. Your way can and has resulted in some big payoffs. I remember the "Bald Eagle"........................you worked for a great trainer. I cashed in big time in '86 with FERDINAND. I rubbed horses years ago for John Nerud, another hall of famer. Good luck this year in the derby.
Gary Ney More than 1 year ago
My top 5 for The derby: Bodemeister, what a strong performance in the Arkansas Derby and the way he finished it looks like the distance will not be a problem. He can set of a hot pace set by Hansen, the blow by him in early stretch. Dullahan, a strong closer but will need a clean trip with tiring horses in front of him. went The Day Well, an under the radar horse but his race at Turfway was strong on a tiring track, he will be mid pack and will need a sharp ride to get through. Creative Cause, sheer determination will see him in the top 5 on the 1st saturday in May I'll Have Another, I am convinced this horse is for real after watching the Santa Anita Derby many times, but he will need a clean trip, something not easy to get with 20 runners. Hanse will not make the distance and will not rate, they will try to steal it on the front. Gemologist, I am not convinced he is durable enough to handle 20 runners. Union Rags, he has lost when he cannot get an early and easy lead. Take Charge Indy, he will force the issue with Hansen first and maybe early thus setting things up for Bodemeister. My 2 sleepers: Mark Valeski, he is gutty Daddy Long Legs, I am not sure he will be bet much and if that is the case, he is worth throwing some money at. That's it from beautiful Florence Ky
WILL More than 1 year ago
Candace More than 1 year ago
This years DERBY is really deep.....can't wait for the exotic playoffs on that first Saturday in MAY
Douglas More than 1 year ago
MAY 5TH at around 11am Is When I Will Post My ( TOP PICK ) . I am not affraid to step out and voice my PICK , and I Stand up like a man ( Like Last Year ) when I am wrong . I Am Not Doing This For Attention , Absolutely Not . It does not matter to me if someone Wins $100,000 off a $2 Bet and I Wager $342.00 0r $1,026 and lose it all . I am only trying to add True Excitement into having a far better chance into hitting the Big Trifecta . I Have Just Been Blessed , Nothing More . I Take the KENTUCKY DERBY very personal - like no other race . I focus on what all is happening at the stables at Churchill Downs from April 15th thru May 5th . I am there every day . One Of These Years , Try My Way ..................... You Dont Even Have To Go With Mt PICK , with your Money , You can even Go with ( WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN ) .................................... I am just saying ( FOR ME - MY WAY HAS BEEN VERY REWARDING ) " KENNY MAYNE " from ESPN knows my way of wagering on the KENTUCKY DERBY and KENNY likes it . I am thankfull that KENNY gives me HIGH 5 in ( G O I N G - F O R - IT ) That Is What Kenny Believes In As Well , NEVER LAY UP
Douglas More than 1 year ago
MANY RACING FANS just may think my way of WAGERING on the KENTUCKY DERBY maybe ( TOTALLY OFF THE WALL ) ................ But Racing Fans - At Least Just Here Me Out ! MY WAY OF WAGERING ON THE KENTUCKY DERBY REALLY ADDS TO EXCITEMENT , even though my way is Costfull ! But If A Person Can Get Two Other Friends To Go Along With You - It Doesnt Seem As Costfull . I am only trying to give a friendly advice in a ONCE A YEAR WAGER , in trying to hit ( THE BIG ONE ) like in 2009 and 2005 , which I Won Both those years off my way of wagering . I AM BY NO-MEANS TRYING TO SOUND LIKE A MR KNOW-IT-ALL . This is Absolutely a very Fun Time of year and only comes ONCE a year The KENTUCKY DERBY ....................... In a 20 Horse Field , my wager is broke down into 3 ways ( Each Wager Costing $342.00 ) and the total cost is $1,026 . If by chance 3 people can get together and each wager $342.00 - that alone is about what a person bets at the track anyways for the whole day . I have gotten afew people following my way of wagering on the Derby , and thru-out the last 14 years , RISK n Reward has been very rewarding . Here is how my wager looks ....................... LETS MAKE PRETEND LETS SAY BODEMEISTER DRAWS POST 20 . My wager would look like this ............... ( $1 Trifecta Wheel 20 / all / all .................. all / 20 / all .................... all / all / 20 ............................... Your Top Pick For The Derby Has To Finish ( 1st , 2nd , or 3rd ) for the Trifecta . Many people can say that I sound like the most Foolish Better in the World . But , in my opinion : IF A PERSON WOULD HAVE SELECTED ( MY TOP PICK ) OVER THE LAST 14 YEARS , You Would Have Won 12 of the TRIFECTAS OVER THE LAST 14 YEARS , and you Do Not Have To Focus On Picking Whom Will Win The DERBY . Just has to finish 1st , 2nd , or 3rd . 8 of the years have been ( I R S Trifectas ) . My Top Pick on May 5th Record is ( 5 WINS - 5 PLACES - 2 SHOWS ) with missing last year with 14 SHACKLEFORD after running 4th , and 2001 17 POINT GIVEN afte running 5th .......................... 2011 / 14 SHACKLEFORD RAN 4TH ..... 2010 / 2 ICE BOX RAN 2ND ...... 2009 / 9 PIONEER OF THE NILE RAN 2ND ...... 2008 / 20 BIG BROWN RAN 1ST ...... 2007 / 7 STREET SENSE RAN 1ST ...... 2006 / 8 BARBARO RAN 1ST ...... 2005 / 12 AFLEET ALEX RAN 3RD ...... 2004 / 3 LION HEART RAN 2ND ...... 2003 / 12 EMPIRE MAKER RAN 2ND ..... 2002 / 5 WAR EMBLEM RAN 1ST ...... 2001 / 17 POINT GIVEN RAN 5TH ...... 2000 / 12 FUSAICHI PEGASUS RAN 1ST ...... 1999 / 8 CAT THIEF RAN 3RD ...... 1998 / 12 VICTORY GALLOP RAN 2ND ............................... I Am Just Showing My Past 14 Years of my Top Picks , as you can see for your-self - there are no really off the wall Colts in my Selections , maybe War Emblem back in 2002 . Im telling Ya : My Way Of Wagering On The DERBY Is Very RISKY if your record has not been good . But my Way - Ya Have 3 Chances , and MY SELECTION thru the years have been very rewarding ! I Do Not Have A Very Good Record At ( PICKING THE DERBY WINNER ) with only 5 Wins In the last 14 Years , but my ( Top Pick ) Does Not Have To Win ................ Just Has To Finish ( 1st , 2nd , or 3rd ) . Everyone - One of these years Ya Got to try my Way ...................... ITS LIKE WAITING FOR A LOTTO DRAW
James Young More than 1 year ago
I was at Oaklawn Park Friday and Saturday. While Oaklawn does have a tendency to favor early speed, this was not the case last weekend. I am a pace handicapper and had the best weekend of my life at OP. I had four trifecta's boxing only 3 horses that paid $200-350 per ticket and one super boxing only 4 horses that paid $1800. The only early speed I bet was Alternation who won the Oaklawn Handicap wire to wire over Ron the Greek and Hymm Book, possibly the best horses in training. The key is to look at the fractions of the Oaklawn Handicap vs the Arkansas Derby. Quinonez did a masterful job of stealing the H'cap with fractions of 23.91, 48.30, 1:12.59, 1:37.47 and 1:49.94, note the last quarter in 12.47 after a leisurely first 6 furlongs. Now check out Bodemeister's fractions: 23.00, 46.55, 1:11.36, 1:36.74 and 1:48.71...after a fairly quick half mile Bodemeister ran the last furlong in under 12 seconds, plus his final time was 1.23 seconds faster than Alternation. Bodemeister is a race horse, and if he stays healthy and gets a clean trip on the first Saturday of May the world just might see a star.
mace More than 1 year ago
There is no such thing as foundation as a prerequisite for winning the derby in 2012,these colts are too lightly raced.Curlin had a chance to put the Apollo rule to bed,now there is a new hope that will forever silence the foundation pundits.
Joel Winicki More than 1 year ago
"foundation" is neither a prerequisite nor a rule. It's simply a theory....one that's been backed by father time for over a century now. I agree, Bodemeister is probably the most talented horse in the field....a star in the making! I also believe he'll finish off the board in the KD. Even the OH runners are highly unlikely to run back in 3 weeks, especially at a furlong further. The KD is dictating when this horse will run, not the horse' best interest. There is the "possibility" that this is THE horse to buck the trend.....but seasoned horse players bet with their smarts, not their hearts. You shouldn't get so defensive over theory that has held true for over a century.....it will still be a very respected theory long after it gets proven wrong one of these years. The proof is in the pudding'. ;-)
Charles Berger More than 1 year ago
Remember too, Bode picks up eight pounds, running an additional 1/8 ths of a mile against far mor accomplished horses he beat in the Ark Derby. A big difference in 118 and 126 going a mile and a quarter. I like the horse, but he will NOT run as big on derby day.