Bodemeister is one to beat in 138th Kentucky Derby
It’s the first weekend of May and of course that means the Run for the Roses and the true start to horse racing season is upon as the 138th Kentucky Derby will be run Saturday from Churchill Downs and Bodemeister is the 4-1 favorite at WagerWeb.com.
Bodemeister drew post No. 6 as he seeks to become only the second horse to win the Kentucky Derby without having raced as a 2-year-old. The first was Apollo back in 1882. Mike Battaglia, Churchill Downs’ longtime oddsmaker, said he tabbed Bodemeister the favorite off his 108 Beyer Speed Figure, which evaluates horses based on time and track speed, earned in his Arkansas Derby romp.
Bodemeister did not merely demolish his rivals by 9 1/2 lengths in Arkansas. He ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.71, just after a solid field of older horses in the Oaklawn Park Handicap had covered the same distance in 1:49.94. It is unusual — and a convincing mark of excellence — for a young horse to run so much faster than high-class elders. No member of this 3-year-old crop has given a performance nearly as good.
The average winning Beyer Speed Figure in the Kentucky Derby is 108, and top contenders are expected to approach that number in their prep races. Fellow Derby contenders Hansen and Union Rags have never run better than 96. Unbeaten Gemologist’s modest 98 in the Wood Memorial Stakes was the best in any Grade I event for 3-year-olds — until Bodemeister unleashed a 108 at Oaklawn Park.
Bodemeister, who has never been worse than second in his four career starts (all this year), is trained by the legendary Bob Baffert, who is a three-time Derby winner but hasn’t won it since 2002. It’s the third time the Hall of Fame trainer has had the early Derby favorite. Lookin At Lucky drew the inside post in 2010, got trapped along the rail and finished sixth. In 2001, Point Given was the heavy favorite and wound up fifth. He went on to win the Preakness and Belmont stakes, the final two legs of the Triple Crown.
Union Rags is a close second choice at 9-2 in a full field of 20 horses. Gemologist is third at 6-1 followed by Dullahan at 8-1 and Hansen, the near all-white colt who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November, at 10-1.
Many bettors favor Gemologist.. He has run five times, winning twice over the Churchill Downs track. His biggest win came April 7 in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. It was a race he almost had to win because he had little graded earnings and would need the purse money to qualify for the Derby.
Morning Line Odds
|1||Daddy Long Legs||C. O’Donoghue||30-1|
|3||Take Charge Indy||C. Borel||15-1|
|4||Union Rags||J. Leparoux||9-2|
|7||Rousing Sermon||J. Lezcano||50-1|
|8||Creative Cause||J. Rosario||12-1|
|10||Daddy Nose Best||G. Gomez||15-1|
|13||Went The Day Well||J. Velazquez||20-1|
|16||El Padrino||R. Bejarano||20-1|
|17||Done Talking||S. Russell||50-1|
|19||I’ll Have Another||M. Gutierrez||12-1|