Despite winning the Santa Anita Derby and Kentucky Derby, I’ll Have Another was still the second choice to the betting public for the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes. Derby runner-up Bodemeister was bet down as the 8/5 favorite. Why?
Bodemeister ran one of the most impressive races in the history of the Kentucky Derby. He ran fractions on the front end that should have ended up with a poor result. Others prior to him that ran that fast early finished near or at the back of the field. Instead, he fought to the bitter end and finished an astounding second place. Pimlico race course and specifically the Preakness Stakes has always been speed bias. If you go back to last year, Shackleford led the Derby for the first mile but tired late to finish 4th. However, two weeks later, he was able to duel for the lead with Flashpoint and hang on to defeat Animal Kingdom by 1/2 length in the Preakness Stakes. Many felt the Bodemeister would be able to go accomplish the same feat.
As expected, Mike Smith took the Bob Baffert colt to the lead and was able to post slower fractions than the Derby.
Derby: 22.32, 45.39, 1:09.80, 1:35.19 and 2:01.83
Preakness: 23.79, 47.68, 1:11.72, 1:36.69 and 1:55.94
As you can see, he led after 1/2 and one mile approximately two seconds slower than two weeks ago. The race was his to lose. I’ll Have Another was sitting closer than he was in the Derby. Jockey Mario Gutierrez knew the pace was slower and couldn’t afford to sit far back. Bodemeister led on the far turn by 1 1/2 lengths and increased his lead to three lengths as they hit the stretch. I, and many others I’m sure, felt due to the slower early fractions that Bodemeister would take off and route this field. It would have happened if one horse hadn’t been in the field. Gutierrez took his colt to the outside of Creative Cause, who was sitting second at the time. It was a three horse race. Well, for a couple of seconds. I’ll Have Another passed Creative Cause with ease while Bodemeister was increasing his lead near the rail. As we saw him do in the Derby, I’ll Have Another released a serious rally and was reeling in Bodemeister with each stride. The two quickly put a huge gap between themselves and Creative Cause. With just a few strides left before the wire, the chestnut Flower Alley colt caught Bodemeister to win the second leg of the triple crown by a neck. Putting him in a position to capture the triple crown. A drought of 34 years could be coming to an end (Affirmed 1978).
The sport has needed this drought to end. Zenyatta did get the sport back on the map with her incredible run of 19 for 19 before ending her career with a heart-breaking loss in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in November 2010. However, a horse winning the triple crown would certainly get National and International attention. Much needed press for a sport that has dwindled in recent years. Over the next three weeks, horse racing and sports media outlets in general will all be discussing I’ll Have Another and his legitimate chance of winning the Belmont Stakes.
As I’ve mentioned before, with the connection with my Dad and jockey Mario Gutierrez from 2006-2010, I will be rooting for this colt from the time they open the gate to hopefully seeing him cross the wire first for the fifth time in a row. It would be personally and professionally a tremendous situation.
2012 PREAKNESS STAKES – ORDER OF FINISH
1. I’ll Have Another
3. Creative Cause
5. Teeth of the Dog
8. Tiger Walk
9. Daddy Nose Best
10. Went the Day Well