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138th Kentucky Derby Recap & A Look Forward

The 138th Running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky took place on May 5, 2012. I know, I am a bit late with the recap, but since a few owners are making decisions as to which direction to take, and there are a couple of unfortunate injuries to discuss, I think now is a good time to discuss not only what happened, but also to look ahead. After all, in four weeks, we very well FINALLY have the twelfth three year old horse to complete the elusive Triple Crown, something that has not been done since Affirmed accomplished the feat in 1978.

Well, let’s go back to last Saturday, on May 5, 2012 at Churchill Down, in Louisville, Kentucky, shall we? The track condition, despite it raining hard overnight, was labeled fast. Post time was 6:25pm. The field of 20 loaded in, and the favorite for the race was a horse named Bodemeister, the 9 1/2 length winner of the Arkansas Derby. Bodemeister was the horse who I had picked in my Kentucky Derby preview blog, and was owned by Zayat Stables who owned previous Derby runner up finishers Nehro (2011), and Pioneer of the Nile (2009). Bodemeister was trained by Bob Baffert who was looking for his fourth Kentucky Derby. Baffert was also recovering from a near fatal heart attack that he suffered while in Dubai in late March for the Dubai World Cup. One of his arteries was 90% blocked, and the other was 100% blocked. Fortunately, his wife got him to the hospital, or he would have died. He was told in Dubai that the artery he had 100% blocked was known as the “widowmaker.” Would Bodemeister bring good fortune to both Ahmed Zayat, the owner of the stables struck with “seconditis” and to Bob Baffert who is appreciating a second chance at life?

Other horses who were in the race were the 2 year old champion, Hansen, Union Rags, trained by Michael Matz, of Barbaro fame, the undefeated Gemologist who was trained by Todd Pletcher, and the Santa Anita Derby winner, I’ll Have Another, trained by Doug O’Neill. There were plenty of horses in this field who were able to win this race. Who would it be?

When the gates opened, people normally would expect a huge cavalry charge, and such. I saw that Bodemeister broke cleanly, and took the lead right away. A couple of gates to the outside, was this speedster, Trinneberg who I called a “no hoper.” (What I mean by that is the horse was qualified to be in the race, but was entered by the owner just to be entered. He was a strict sprinter that had never ran beyond a mile, but had the earnings. (Just because you can do something, does NOT mean you SHOULD, in other words) ) who contributed to a very fast pace.

Anyway, Bodemeister set these fast fractions that Trinneberg finally could not keep up with. I mean, first quarter in 22 , second quarter in something like 45. Anyway, at the top of the stretch, it looked like Bodemeister was home free, as he was in front by about three lengths, but my heart sank in deep stretch when I saw some horse come to his outside (I couldn’t hear the call due to the fact I was at a Derby party.), and in the final jumps, went past Bodemeister by about a length and a half, and I barely heard the name at the end.

Well, I saw that the winner was I’ll Have Another (sired by Flower Alley), who was trained by Doug O’Neill, and ridden by Mario Gutierrez (in his first KY Derby appearance), and owned by Canadian J. Paul Reddam. Jockey Mario Gutierrez also rode in Vancouver, BC in Canada before coming to the States to ride. I thought that was awesome for the crew, at first. Of course, I felt bad that Bodemeister lost. He ran his heart out. According to the broadcast, he set some of the fastest fractions at various points in the race, and still nearly won it. He held on for second by about a neck. Dullahan, the winner of the Bluegrass Stakes, finished a very fast closing third.

This was a very exciting race. When the experts showed the replays, I kind of figured out how the race played out. During the pre-show, the experts talked about how there was a lot of speed (Take Charge Indy, Bodemeister, Trinneberg, Union Rags, Hanson), and all that. Well, I kind of noticed, during Derby week, that Bob Baffert was very quiet as to what his strategy was. Well, it was obvious when the gates opened, even though some criticized the ride, but it was the right thing, Baffert told Smith to let Bode go, and that is what happened. Baffert said after, “I had him (Bode) a little short.” Nonetheless, the horse was awesome. The fractions Bodemeister set were some of the fastest in the history of the race. Not to take anything away from the winner, but Bodemeister put on the best performance by a second place finisher of the Kentucky Derby since Native Dancer in 1953, who ironically also was given a criticized ride, and was fouled twice during his race (the only race in his 22 race career he ever lost), and nearly won. Now, I am not trying to say Bodemeister will be the next Native Dancer or anything like that, but Bode’s race was that phenomenal, in my opinion.

Now, let’s get to the horse who actually wound up with the Garland of Roses, shall we? His name is I’ll Have Another. He is owned by Canadian businessman J. Paul Reddam, and he was bred in the state of Kentucky. He was bought at the September Yearling sales at Keeneland in 2010 for 11,000 by Victor Davila who in turn sold the horse to Reddam. The horse got its name from Reddam’s telling his wife “I’ll Have Another” of her homemade cookies. Doug O’Neill is the horse’s trainer, as I briefly said previously. The horse’s sire is Flower Alley, and his dam is Arch’s Gal Edith. His jockey is Mario Gutierrez.

In his first stakes race, after he won his debut race, I’ll Have Another came in second to Creative Cause in the Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar and sixth behind Currency Swap in the Hopeful at Saratoga in August. He bloomed as a three year old by reeling off wins in the Bob and Beverly Lewis, and the Santa Anita Derby, narrowly defeating the favored Creative Cause. Preparing for the Kentucky Derby, he stayed in California, and then finally arriving during Derby week, he arrived. His connections seemed confident, even though not a lot of attention was paid to him. More attention was paid to Union Rags, Hanson, and Bodemeister. I’ll Have Another’s post position , number 19, did not attract attention either. No one had won from there. His jockey, Mario Gutierrez was making his derby debut also.

Well, history was made on Saturday. A horse won from post position 19 for the first time. A jockey won on his first Derby mount. Doug O’Neill, the trainer won his first Derby as well. All this the day after some history was made at the Kentucky Oaks, which is the “Lillies for the Fillies,” even though Fillies can run, and have, and have WON the Kentucky Derby. Jockey Rose Marie Napravnik , aboard, Believe You Can, trained by Larry Jones (Havre De Grace), and owned by Bereton Jones became the first FEMALE jockey to win the Kentucky Oaks. So, it was a record breaking weekend. We just got to have a woman jockey win the Derby. Anyway, this year’s Derby was awesome

Well, now that we have the Derby winner, and the ONLY horse to have a shot to win the Triple Crown, let’s look ahead.

There was a significant injury coming out of the Derby. Take Charge Indy, the winner of the Florida Derby who wound up 19th, came out of the race with a small chip in his front ankle. It is not believed to be serious, and after surgery this week, he is expected back under tack in 60 days per his trainer Patrick Byrne.

I’ll Have Another has already shipped to Pimilico Racecourse, the site of the Preakness this Saturday. He is just galloping.

Bodemeister had a very good breezing session and will be heading to Baltimore according to his trainer and owner.

Union Rags, and Hanson will NOT be going to the Preakness

A couple of “new shooters” (horses that are new to the Triple Crown trail) such as

Cozzetti, Tiger Walk, and Zetterholm work towards the Preakness.

The Preakness Draw will be on Wednesday, and I will blog my Preakness Picks/Preview on either late Thursday or Friday.

Terri Bey currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for F4WOnline.com. Terri can be found here at Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TerriBey and at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/missedgehead

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Terri

Terri Bey currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for F4WOnline.com. Terri can be found here at Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TerriBey and at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/giopontifan

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