Monday, May 21, 2012

Virginia-bred Bodemeister Second In Preakness As I'll Have Another Takes Aim At Triple Crown

I'LL HAVE ANOTHER and BODEMEISTER (Bill Frakes/Sports Illustrated)
In what played out like an instant replay of the Kentucky Derby, jockey Mario Gutierrez and the Flower Alley colt I’ll Have Another caught Mike Smith and the front-running Bodemeister in the shadow of the finish line to win the 137thedition of the Preakness Stakes from Pimlico race course in Baltimore, Md., on Saturday. The winning margin was a neck, with Creative Cause another 8 ¾ lengths back in third, giving California-based horses a sweep of the top three positions.

Time of the race on a fast track was 1:55.94 for the 1 3/16 miles.
Complete order of finish was: I’ll Have Another, Bodemeister, Creative Cause, Zetterholme, Teeth of the Dog, Optimizer, Cozzetti, Tiger Walk, Daddy Nose Best, Went the Day Well, Pretension.

I’ll Have Another, owned by Reddam Racing and trained by Doug O’Neill now takes aim on the June 9 Belmont Stakes and will attempt to become horse racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner. He beat Bodemeister in the Kentucky Derby by 1 1/2 lengths. Dullahan, the third-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, didn't participate in the Preakness but is being pointed for the Belmont, along with Alpha (12th Kentucky Derby), recent Peter Pan Stakes winner Mark Valeski, and Union Rags (a troubled seventh in the Kentucky Derby), among others.
(Rob Carr/Getty Images)
"I'm just numb," said Doug O'Neill. "I could see him and I felt like he was coming, but you never want to expect that he's going to be in front. I saw him coming. It seemed like the stretch never ends. Thank God. Usually you want it to end. Incredible."

Bodemeister, the 8-5 favorite, went right to the front as expected, just as he did in the Kentucky Derby, setting fractions that were considerably slower than those at Churchill Downs two weeks earlier. He went :23.79 for he opening quarter mile, :47.68 for the half and 1:11.72 for six furlongs.

Creative Cause was in closest pursuit in the run down the backstretch, with I’ll Have Another just behind him, alongside longshot Pretension. When Bodemeister hit the final turn, jockey Joel Rosario made his move aboard Creative Cause, putting some pressure on the front-runner, but Bodemeister stretched his lead out to three lengths at the furlong pole (the same margin he held at the stretch call of the Derby).

Gutierrez, meanwhile, saved some ground on the turn, then swung three wide into the stretch. Gutierrez went to work with a ride-handed whip, and I’ll Have Another gradually cut into Bodemeister’s lead. Bodemeister fought back under left-handed pressure from Smith, but I’ll Have Another had the momentum, snatching the victory from Bodemeister and denying trainer Bob Baffert his sixth victory in the Triple Crown’s middle jewel.
(Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Final time of 1:55.94 (after a mile split of 1:36.69) was quicker than Shackleford’s win last year but well off the fastest Preakness time of 1:53.46 set by Curlin in 2007.

Now a winner of five of seven lifetime starts and all four of his 2012 races, I'll Have Another paid $8.40 on a $2 mutuel as the 3-1 second choice. "He doesn't have the most respect and he's never been favored," said owner Paul Reddam, who is experiencing his first success in the Triple Crown.

Gutierrez, a 25-year-old native of Veracruz, Mexico, who won his first career Grade 1 race while aboard I'll Have Another in the Santa Anita Derby in April, gave a flawless ride in the Preakness, just as he did in the Kentucky Derby, when breaking from the 19 post position. "It's not me, it's him," Gutierrez said of the Derby-Preakness winner. "He has a tremendous kick in the end."
To read the rest of Paulick’s story and see the chart of the race, click here.

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