Bodemeister crushed the opposition en route to a decisive win at the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs AR.
Bodemeister gave trainer Bob Baffert his first career win in the Arkansas Derby.
After a clean start for all horses, Stat on the inside and Bodemeister from the outside went for the lead as they passed the grandstands for the first time.
Jockey Mike Smith gradually took Bodemeister down from the far 11th post all the way to the rail as they started to make the first turn and took the first quarter-mile fractional in :23.02.
Stat with John Velazquez relaxed in stalking mode right behind Bodemeister and Secret Circle was tracking easily on third place while Raconteur was fourth.
They remained in that order with Bodemeister leading the way in brisk fractions of :46.55 and 1:11.36 through the three-quarter mile pole. Right then and there Stat and Secret Circle started to quicken the pace and pressured Bodemeister.
Smith identified this and started to put position on Bodemeister as they turned for home.
Jockey Rafael Bejarano made Secret Circle make his move around Stat and looked like he had a dead aim on Bodemeister once they entered the stretch. But Smith asked Bodemeister to go get what he had left and he was full of energy.
Bodemeister took the bridle and started to pull away from Secret Circle like he just started running at that point. With 2.5 furlongs to go he took off and never stopped until he reached the wire first in a final time of 1:48.71.
It was 9.5 lengths to Secret Circle who finished a contested second over Sabercat and Cozzetti. Atigun rounded up the top five.
Bodemeister needed a win to get enough graded earnings to be in the Top 20 of the Kentucky Derby earnings list and now he is easily in.
He will go in as a top contender and it will be interesting to see with the expected pace that will be in the Derby, which will be the strategy with him. But one thing we know for sure, this performance was one of a superstar in the making.
In just his fourth race lifetime, Bodemeister had the crushing performance only champions make. Many expected Hansen to have this kind of a race in the Bluegrass, but it happened here at Oaklawn.
Bodemeister should not have problems to make the 10 furlongs trip as he is bred to go that distance and more. He is a son of Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker out of the Storm Cat mare Untouched Talent.
The blinkers-off showed a new dimension on him as he relaxed easily during the race and jockey Mike Smith was barely moving aboard him. Once again, this is a superstar in the making that has only four lifetime races and has a huge upside.
Jockey Mike Smith now has a huge decision in his hands as he had committed earlier to ride Daddy Nose Best in the Kentucky Derby. I think we all know who he will pick.
Secret Circle was just out-finished today by a better horse and maybe his connections will revise their plans towards the Derby.
He has more than enough graded earnings but with a regression in Beyer figures in his win on the Rebel before this race, this performance shows he might have peaked earlier and maybe a refreshing might be in order.
But these are two Bob Baffert trainees and he has won nine Triple Crown races, he know exactly what he is doing and he will have his hands full for the next three weeks with them.
Arkansas Derby | Grade I | Purse $1,000,000 | Distance: 9 furlongs | Final Time: 1:48.71
|11||Bodemeister||Mike E. Smith||6.80||4.60||3.60|
|5||Secret Circle||Rafael Bejarano||4.00||3.00|
|9||Sabercat||Corey S. Nakatani||4.80|
|Also ran: 1 - Cozzetti , 8 - Atigun , 2 - Stat , 3 - Najjaar , 6 - Isn't He Clever , 7 - Optimizer , 4 - Jake Mo , 10 -Raconteur|