Thursday, May 17, 2012

Virginia's Bodemeister Early Favorite For Preakness

By Jack Shinar/The

(Garry Jones/AP Photo)
(Virginia-bred) Bodemeister, runner-up in the Kentucky Derby, has been made the 8-5 morning line favorite for the Preakness Stakes on Saturday and will break from post 7.

Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another was made the 5-2 second choice. He breaks from post 9 in the field of 11 entered for the Preakness. Four of the top five finishers in the Derby are in the field. Six Derby contestants were entered for the second jewel of the Triple Crown with five newcomers.

Post positions were drawn Wednesday night at Pimlico Race Course, which hosts the 1 3/16-mile event for 3-year-olds that was inaugurated in 1873. The field is the smallest since 2007, when Curlin beat Derby winner Street Sense in a nine-horse field.

A win would give I'll Have Another a chance to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978 in the Belmont Stakes on June 9.

With all the contenders drawing favorably in the relatively small field, there were few complaints from horsemen afterward.

Bodemeister, who was sent off the slight 4-1 favorite for the Derby, can give trainer Bob Baffert his sixth Preakness victory and his first since Lookin At Lucky won the race in 2010.

Baffert was not present at the draw but later said, "I think it's a good post. With him, anything in the middle would have been fine. In the Preakness, you just don't want to be stuck down on the inside, where you have to use your horse a little bit.
"The Derby winner drew well also. Everybody is in a good post."

Bodemeister set one of the quickest tempos in Kentucky Derby history (:22.32, :45.39, 1:09.80 for the first six furlongs) last Saturday with Mike Smith aboard and led by three lengths in the stretch. But he could not fend off the determined challenge from 15-1 shot I'll Have Another, who reeled in the leader under little known jockey Mario Gutierrez near the sixteenth pole and drew clear for a 1 1/2-length triumph.

The Southern California-based colts figure to dominate the Preakness wagering, though strong support can also be expected for Went the Day Well and Creative Cause, listed as 6-1 co-third choices on Pimlico oddsmaker Frank Carulli's morning line.

Bodemeister is expected to have a little easier time of it on the front end this time with less early speed in the lineup on a track that is considered kinder to front-runners than Churchill Downs. The early Preakness choice's biggest win came in the Arkansas Derby April 14 in front-running style by 9 1/2 lengths at Oaklawn Park for owners Zayat Stables and Mike and Tiffany Moreno.

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(Editor's Note: Bodemeister was bred in Virginia by Audley Farm in Berryville.  He was sold to his current owner at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale as part of Audley's annual yearling consignment.)

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