The year 2012 has been a rather tough year for the glorious sport of Thoroughbred racing. The year has been full of investigations into various aspects of the sport. New York Governor Cuomo has demanded an investigation of why there has been so many catastrophic breakdowns at Aqueduct Racetrack. New York State has taken over NYRA.
[adinserter block=”2″]I have been aware that the New York Racing Association has been having issues for years, but in my 35 plus years as a fan, I never thought the state would take it over. The United States Congress even investigated breakdowns in horse racing, and the use of drugs. Trainer Dick Dutrow was still fighting his 10 year ban from the sport that was handed down to him in New York. Fans of the sport are frustrated with the lack of transparency from the sport, but all this is another blog for another time.
What also has made 2012 a tough year for the sport is the sudden retirements of top racehorses, particularly the horse in this year’s 3 year old crop, several of which ran in the Triple Crown preps, and in the Triple Crown races. 2012 saw the recent retirement of the great mare, Winter Memories who just won the Diana. It just came out of the blue. She came down with degenerative arthritis. 2012 Belmont Winner Union Rags retired soon after the race after a lesion was discovered.
The big shocker this year was 2012 Kentucky Derby , and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another who somehow came up lame a couple of days before the Belmont when he was going to attempt to be the 12th Triple Crown winner, and was scratched the day before the race. The horse was retired, and is now in Japan. I still can’t believe it happened. That whole Triple Crown series was bizarre with “Another’s” trainer Doug O’Neill having to go to a hearing in California as he was facing a 180 day suspension for “Milkshaking.” He had the suspension knocked down to 45 days, and it was supposed to start on July 1.
However, today racing saw yet another retirement, and it really pains me to say this, but 2012 Kentucky Derby, and Preakness runner up, Bodemeister was retired today to Winstar Farms. Bodemeister was trained by the great Bob Baffert, and his owners are Zayat Stables, and Mike and Tiffany Moreno who bought a minority share in the horse a week before the 2012 Kentucky Derby. Bodemeister suffered a shoulder injury while training, and never was the same. He was sent to Winstar, and Rood and Riddle on August 15, 2012, and the famed veterinarian, Dr. Larry Bramlage said the diagnosis was a peripheral nerve injury which caused atrophy of the infraspinatus muscle in his left shoulder. The injury should take about 60 days to heal. After consultation, it was decided that Bodemeister was to be retired to stud.
For those who have read my racing blogs, I think I have made it quite obvious that I was a huge fan of Bodemeister. Even when he finished second in the Kentucky Derby , I still stuck with him for the Preakness. My heart , and maybe my ego (a little bit) just sank when he lost , especially that Preakness. What a heart breaker that was for me, and his fans. Dealing with the “Bode-bashers” on the Internet was not fun either. However, I read on the Blood Horse that he was taking a break, and such.
Of course, you all are going to want to know how I came to love this dark bay stud of a horse. Well, during the Derby preps, I had not really settled on a horse yet. I liked “Rags,” and Take Charge Indy, and a couple of others. No one dazzled me. I happened to catch the Arkansas Derby, and saw Bodemeister, and I was floored. He was gorgeous. Well, the gates opened, and my jaws dropped. He did not just win. He just annihilated that field. I am sitting there just amazed. I said out loud, “THAT’S MY DERBY HORSE.” I then read up on him, and saw he didn’t run as a two year old, and finished second in his debut, and then just opened people’s eyes with a 9 1/2 length win in his second race. In his stakes debut, he was second to Creative Cause in the San Felipe, before destroying this Arkansas Derby Field. I said, this horse is going to be the next great horse. Trust me. I am a long time sports fan, and I do NOT use the word “great” very often, like a lot of people do today, and just throw the word around.
Well, as we all know by now Bodemeister finished 2nd in the Kentucky Derby , after setting blazing fractions that would have had most horses finishing way up the track. I still thought that was an incredible performance in, and of itself. He finished a very close 2nd to I’ll Have Another in the Preakness. That was so heartbreaking in particular. He was beat right at the last minute. I knew he was still kind of inexperienced, but it was so upsetting to see him lose like that. When they showed Baffert and his family’s reaction, I could see the disappointment on their faces. Little did we fans know , it would be the last time we would ever see him on the track, as sometime in mid June, it was announced that Bodemeister had suffered a fever due to a virus going through Baffert’s barn. Bodemeister, who was to be the favorite in the Haskell (won by Paynter, his stablemate) was scratched.
Some time had gone by, and then the news of Bodemeister going to Rood and Riddle, and Winstar to recover just now surfaced, and here we are with the retirement of an awesome horse. It is so sad for me. I really thought Bodemeister had a ton of potential to be a great horse. I really did. It really stinks when an athlete, human or equine has their career ended due to injury. I think it is an awful fate. Who knows what Bodemeister could have accomplished? As a fan, I know it is for the best, and the horse’s health comes first, however, I can’t help being disappointed he had to retire.
[adinserter block=”1″]I get attached to my favorite equine athletes just as much as I get attached to my favorite human ones, so I feel just as sad when they retire from the track as when my favorite athletes retired from the field, or the wrestling ring. It is comforting to know that these horses get a second career as a broodmare , or as a sire. I loved him, and I thank Bob Baffert, The Zayat Stables , and Mike and Tiffany Moreno for campaigning such a wonderful horse whose career ended too soon. I am looking forward to the mini Bodemeisters.
Bodemeister (Empire Maker -Untouched Talent- Storm Cat) earned $1,304,800 from 2 wins, and 4 seconds in 6 total starts.
As we Bodemeister fans say, “GO BODE GO!”
Bodemeister in the 2012 Arkansas Derby
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/giopointfan