Two weeks ago, a chestnut horse based in Southern California named I’ll Have Another ran down a gallant Bodemeister to win the Kentucky Derby, giving trainer Doug O’Neill, jockey Mario Gutierrez, and Reddam Racing their first Kentucky Derby wins. It was also the first Derby winner for sire Flower Alley who stands at Three Chimneys. The victory was very thrilling for the connections and, even though Bodemeister finished second his valiant effort was applauded by fans and experts.
Well, the two horses who finished first (I’ll Have Another) and second (Bodemeister) return in a rematch along with nine other horses in the race known to many as the Second Jewel of Horse Racing’s Triple Crown, The Preakness Stakes. This year will be the 137th edition of the race, named for a top racehorse in Maryland. The race is run at Pimlico Racecourse, also known as “Old Hiltop.” Right after the Derby, I’ll Have Another was shipped right to Baltimore to gallop over the track. This practice used to be the norm, but has not been done in awhile. The other horses, who trained at other tracks, are arriving later this week. Bodemeister arrived this afternoon, in fact.
[adinserter block=”2″]There has been quite a bit of talk about the first two finishers, but also getting some discussion has been Went the Day Well, owned by Team Valor, and trained by Graham Motion, the same team who brought us last year’s winner, Animal Kingdom. Went the Day Well actually , even though he finished fourth due to a troubled trip (his own doing), finished the fasted of anyone in the Kentucky Derby, so he is a horse to keep an eye on. At the Derby Draw, his owner was saying how he liked his post position, and the horse needs to keep out of trouble.
Much is made about Pimlico and its “tight turns.” Well, on the Derby Draw show, Gary Stevens said that was a “myth.” The turns are narrower, and they are longer. Stevens and Richard Migliore discussed that there was going to be a lot of strategizing. Doug O’Neill and Mario Gutierrez were going to have to decide how much of I’ll Have Another’s early speed to use, and to try to make Mike Smith (Bodemeister) “commit” on Bodemeister.
Well, that is what some of the “experts” are saying, etc. Here is the field, including the morning line odds. As I did with my Kentucky Derby blog, in parentheses, I will give an opinion of each entrant. Like I said, I am just a fan like a lot of people are. I just love the horses as the great athletes they are so I am doing this for fun.
The field is in Post Position order with horse’s name, owner, trainer, jockey, and odds.
1. Tiger Walk/Sagamore Farm/Ignacio Cortreas/Kent Desormeaux/30-1
This horse was third in the Withers, and fourth in Gotham. Trainer said he has to “step it up.” No kidding. Throw out.
2.Teeth of the Dog /J. W. Singer Inc./Michael Matz/Joe Bravo/15-1
Third place finisher of the Wood Memorial might get in the bottom of the exotics (trifectas, superfectas) depending on the pace. I don’t think he wins though.
3.Pretension/Kidwells Petite Stable/Chris Grove/Javier Santiago/30-1
He’s the winner of the Canonero II Stakes on May 5th over the Pimlico track, but I think he is really up against it here. Toss.
4. Zetterholm/Winter Park Partners/Rick Dutrow/Junior Alvarado/20-1
New York Bred is way too in over his head. He has only ran in allowance races and minor stakes company. Toss.
5. Went the Day Well /Team Valor International and Mark Ford/Graham Motion/John Velazquez/6-1
Well, the horse is a bit green, even the owner admitted it. The Preakness is not conducive to closers, but if he breaks well, I think he can hit the board.
6. Creative Cause/Heinz Steinmann/Mike Harrington/Joel Rosario/6-1
I would put this horse in my top three for sure if I were not a little concerned about his going back to California, and then coming all that way back from California to Baltimore. Of course, some horses may be used to it.
7. Bodemeister/Zayat Stables, Mike Moreno and Tiffany Moreno/Bob Baffert/Mike Smith/8-5
According to his owner, Ahmed Zayat, and his trainer, Bob Baffert, Bodemeister looked fantastic after the race. Baffert said he ate up, and the next day looked great. Baffert was afraid Bodemeister would (paraphrased) “sulk in the back of his stall” but he didn’t. Well, I suspect we will surely know if Bodemeister bounces from that huge effort in the Derby or this horse might be something really special. I am going to say the latter. I think Bodemeister is the real deal.
8. Daddy Nose Best/Bob and Cathy Zollars/Steve Asmussen/Julien Leparoux/12-1
Well, the tenth place finisher in the Kentucky Derby is reunited with his jockey, Julien Leparoux who had ridden him in several stakes victories before deciding to ride Union Rags. We will have to see if putting the two back together does the trick.
9. I’ll Have Another/Reddam Racing LLC/Doug O’Neill/Mario Gutierrez/5-2
Well, the pressure is all on him. Can we see Mario Gutierrez make Mike Smith use up more of Bodemeister than he wants to? Can we see a real special horse who may be the ONE. Not since Affirmed in 1978 has a horse swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and the grueling mile and a half Belmont three weeks from now. If I’ll Have Another can get the garland of Black Eyed Susans, only the Belmont Stakes stands in front him.
10. Optimizer/Bluegrass Hall LLC/D. Wayne Lukas/Corey Nakatani/30-1
This horse finished out of the money in the Kentucky Derby, and I expect the same result in the Preakness.
11. Cozzetti/Albaugh Family Stables/Dale Romans/Jose Lexcano/30-1
The third place finisher in the Tampa Bay Derby, and the fourth place finisher in the Arkansas Derby could be used in the exotics as Dale Romans usually has his horse ready to run big.
Long Shot Pick: (In my Derby blog, I meant to give you a long shot pick so I will throw in two) Cozzetti and Teeth of the Dog
My top three for the Preakness: Bodemeister, I’ll Have Another, Went The Day Well
Preakness Pick: Bodemeister
[adinserter block=”1″]Yes. I picked Bodemeister again. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of I’ll Have Another, and I want to see a Triple Crown attempt, but I just loved Bodemeister when he won the Arkansas Derby, and I was blown away by the Kentucky Derby performance. Yeah, there are the “Bode haters” who were not buying him, but that performance was fantastic. Some fans think I’ll Have Another is getting disrespected, but I don’t think so. Let’s see. Doug O’Neill got to throw the opening pitch at a Baltimore Orioles game. O’Neill’s horse is getting all sorts of attention.
However, all that being said, I do want Bodemeister to win. After all, I think the race suits him, and Mike Smith, his jockey can reserve the horse’s speed.
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