The 138th run for the roses is over with I’ll Have Another charging the finish line one and one-half lengths ahead of Bob Baffert’s Bodemeister in an exciting and surprising finish. At 15:1 odds, trainer Doug O’Neill’s three year old was not seen as much of a threat to the favorite Union Rags, who finished a disappointing 7th place.
This most famous of all horse races did not disappoint when it came to action. Bodemeister flew out of the gate along side speed horse Trinniberg, but within seconds took immediate control, with lightening times of 22.32 at the quarter mile, 45:39 at the half and 109:80 at the three-quarter mark. Up to this point, he with Mike Smith aboard posted an average speed of approximately 34-miles per hour.
At the top of the stretch they had a five-length lead.
Mario Gutierrez in his maiden bid for the jewel of racing and I’ll Have Another broke cleanly from the gate. However, the winner of April’s Santa Anita Derby was not factored a major player considering he drew the No.19 starting post out of 20. Gutierrez kept his mount on the outside slowly edging him slightly toward the rail, avoiding traffic and giving him a smooth ride all the way.
The same cannot be said for trainer Michael Matz’s horse, Union Rags.
The pre-race buzz was all about Union Rags and Bodemeister. While Bodemeister did everything possible to garner the win, he simply ran out of power two-hundred yards out, taking second. For Union Rags, it was a Murphy’s Law ride. Bumped at the gate, it took a bit to regain his stride, but with a crowded and fast field, Julien Leparoux found himself boxed in and sealed shut.
Early on it was simply too late for the pair.
Dullahan, the third place finisher at 12:1 had a decent ride, making a late charge from the far outside as they rounded the final turn and headed into the stretch. Kent Desormeaux may have pushed the colt a bit too late, but considering the early pace, completed the job respectfully, just one and three-quarter lengths behind the leader, barely missing second place.
So that wraps up the Kentucky Derby 2012. All eyes will be on the champion in two weeks for the Preakness at Pimlico, but can the colt go head to head with Bodemeister or Union Rags in a mile and one-eighth battle, 1/16 shorter than Churchill Downs?
If Bodemeister can repeat what he did on derby day and Union Rags can stay out of trouble early on, perhaps with a better gate draw, we may see the hopes of a triple crown dashed.
For Doug O’Neill, no doubt he would like another. Maybe if he says, "please."