The 138th running of the Kentucky Derby went according to script from a pace standpoint and I’ll Have Another ran down Bodemeister after sitting the perfect outside stalking trip.
Post position was critical in the outcome of Kentucky Derby 2012 and the key was the draw of the speed horses. Bodemeister (post 6) drew inside the other pace players and hit the ground running under Mike Smith.
I’ll Have Another was comfortably drawn outside the other speedsters in post 19 and his young rider Mario Gutierrez did a great job angling him in early and positioning him within striking range throughout.
I’ll Have Another is better than recent Derby winners Mine That Bird and Super Saver but probably not as good as Animal Kingdom. He was in the right spot to take advantage of a strung out field on the first Saturday in May and I want him to go out and prove it again at Pimlico.
Bodemeister ran a winning race but was forced to expend too much early energy and could not hold off I’ll Have Another. He wires the field if speedy sprinter Trinniberg is not entered.
Union Rags lost the race at the start and my troubled Derby tops have been down this road before (Lookin At Lucky, Point Given, Hansel, Risen Star). He reminds me of Lookin At Lucky the most. My 2010 Derby top experienced troubled trips in the SA Derby and Ky Derby that year under Garrett Gomez. Baffert made the switch to Martin Garcia and he proceeded to win the Preakness, Haskell, and Indiana Derby.
Julien Leparoux has gotten Union Rags into trouble in back-to-back races and it is time for a change. Just like ‘Lucky and Gomez, the karma is not there for some reason. Who would I like to see on Union Rags? I am thinking Rosie Napravnik. She always seems to put her horses in the right spot and gives them every chance to succeed.
Also, rewind your mind to the Gulf this winter when Javier Castellano ditched Union Rags for a plethora of Pletcher runners including Algorithms. Maybe Michael Matz gives him a second chance.
Let’s recap the entire field…
1st – I’ll Have Another: Post 19 was perfect because he drew outside the other speed horses and was able to keep Bodemeister in his sights throughout. I have never been on his bandwagon and am not about to hop aboard now but you gotta love his positional speed and winning spirit.
2nd – Bodemeister: Ran great considering Trinniberg forced him to go too fast early. He has accomplished so much in a short time this year and I would like to see him get a well-deserved break. Preakness remains a possibility but that would be three races in five weeks and he could bounce to the moon following his grueling Derby run.
3rd – Dullahan: Not surprised that the Keeneland specialist clunked up for a minor award because he did the same thing in the BC Juvenile. He handles any footing but clearly does his best work in Lexington.
4th – Went The Day Well: Nice late run to garner a minor award under the Twin Spires. He was one of my projected trifecta/superfecta contenders so he ran as I expected. He will prepare for the Preakness at Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland.
5th – Creative Cause: Made a wide run to get into 3rd but lost the show late when Dullahan and Went The Day Well shot past him. He beat Bodemeister in March and was a nose behind I’ll Have Another in April so he is right there with these on his best day and can make some noise in the Preakness.
6th – Liaison: Ended up a better than expected 6th from post 20. He still has not won a race since last December.
7th – Union Rags: A real shame that he did not get to strut his stuff in the Derby. I still think he is the best 3yo in the land and at this point it looks he might skip the Preakness and wait for the Belmont Stakes. He probably wins the second jewel if he goes in that direction.
8th – Rousing Sermon: Decent CA-bred has not won since moving into open company last November. He packs a nice late kick and could resurface in the Belmont Stakes.
9th – Hansen: Never looked like a ten furlong horse and faded under Twin Spires as expected. Juvenile champ is now 1-for-4 in 2012.
10th – Daddy Nose Best: Split the field in a bit of disappointing run considering he was training well for the big dance. He handles dirt, synthetic, and turf so Asmussen has plenty of options in the coming months.
11th – Optimizer: Not a terrible effort beating nine rivals from post two. He has now dropped seven straight on conventional dirt but Lukas will surely keep him on the Triple Crown trail. He is a decent turf/synthetic horse.
12th – Alpha: Missed a key Derby work after being diagnosed with a leg infection after the Wood Memorial. He reminds me of Stay Thirsty and I fully expect him to blossom later this year.
13th – El Padrino: Had a slow start and a rough trip early. He passed a few rivals after sitting in last early and has not been the same since grueling nose victory in G2 Risen Star. I always had the feeling that he was better on wet footing.
14th – Done Talking: Late runner passed a few tired foes and ran to expectations.
15th – Sabercat: Figured to finish near the bottom.
16th – Gemologist: Folded like a cheap suit when the real running began. Guess Pletcher’s plan to avoid Kentucky and train in Florida backfired.
17th – Trinniberg: Seven furlong specialist cost Bodemeister the race and had no business running ten furlongs on the first Saturday in May. Connections are thinking Preakness if Bodemeister skips the second leg and he will finish up the track again if he ends up in that spot. A more logical placement would be the G2 Woody Stephens at seven panels on the Belmont Stakes undercard.
18th – Prospective: G2 Tampa Bay Derby hero is a few cuts below the best.
19th – Take Charge Indy: Came out of the Derby with an ankle chip and is scheduled to go under the knife this week. He could return in the fall if everything goes well.
20th – Daddy Long Legs: Not surprising the he did not take to conventional dirt since he finished 12th of 13 in last year’s BC Juvenile at Churchill Downs.