Updated on 04/18/2012 2:59PM

Oaklawn: Bodemeister, Secret Circle, Sabercat get green light for Kentucky Derby

Email
Coady Photography
Bodemeister received a 105 Beyer Speed Figure for his win in the Arkansas Derby.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Bodemeister, Secret Circle, and Sabercat, the first three finishers, respectively, in the Arkansas Derby on Saturday, all came out of the race in good order and will share a plane ride to Kentucky on Monday morning to begin final preparations for the May 5 Kentucky Derby, their respective camps said Sunday morning at Oaklawn Park.

Bodemeister and Secret Circle will be accompanied by groom Roberto Luna, a long-time employee of trainer Bob Baffert who is entrusted with his top horses. Luna on Sunday morning said both Bodemeister and Secret Circle were in good shape.

Darren Fleming, the assistant to Steve Asmussen, who trains Sabercat, said Sabercat returned well from the race and would be on the same flight as the Baffert horses on Monday.

Jim Barnes, the Baffert assistant who oversaw the training of his horses here, returned to California early Sunday morning, but will head back to Kentucky later this week to oversee the training of Baffert’s horses at Churchill Downs.

Bodemeister stamped himself as one of the favorites – if not the favorite – for the Derby with his overpowering, 9 1/2-length victory on Saturday. He was awarded a 108 Beyer Speed Figure. But 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,” Barnes said. “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.”

Mike Smith rode Bodemeister for the first time Saturday, and will retain the mount for the Derby, Baffert said Sunday.