Kentucky Derby 2012: Bodemeister and Horses Capable of Dominating at the Derby

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 26, 2012

ELKTON, MD - MAY 17:  Exercise rider David Nava takes Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness entrant Animal Kingdom over the track at the Fair Hill Training Center on May 17, 2011 in Elkton, Maryland. Animal Kingdom is training for Saturday's 136th Preakness Stakes in Baltimore.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

It's never too early to pick a few favorites for the Kentucky Derby, to start analyzing the styles that each horse brings to the the table or the experience that could serve them well on racing's biggest stage.

Do we have a Triple Crown contender in the field? And who is more likely to take the first leg?

Let's take a look at three early favorites in my opinion.

Bodemeister

Bodemeister's experience is questionable, but his ability most certainly isn't, and he heads into the Derby as the popular favorite.

The horse turned heads when he dominated the Arkansas Derby, but he'll have to change the face of history to win in Kentucky. Bodemesiter didn't race as a two-year-old, and its been 130 years since a horse won the Derby after starting as a racer as a three-year-old.

History may not have much of a say this year, however. Bodemeister has the goods to dominate in Kentucky.

Gemologist

Gemologist has yet to lose, and he has the speed to get out early and simply run away from the pack before another horse even stands a chance.

But if it stays close, he has the grit to tap into the reserves for a little bit extra down the stretch as well.

If Gemologist gets out to an early lead and is able to maintain a strong closing pace, the field is going to have a difficult time indeed catching the colt.

Dullahan

Dullahan has quite a bit going for him, according to James Scully of ESPN:

Trainer Dale Romans has been knocking at the door in recent years, finishing third with Paddy O'Prado in 2010 and fourth last year with Shackleford, and Dullahan owns the right credentials pedigree-wise (a half-brother to 2009 Derby winner Mine That Bird.) to deliver him Thoroughbred racing's greatest prize. In his last dirt start, the chestnut recovered from a terrible start to run past more than half the field in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, posting a respectable fourth at Churchill Downs, and the versatile colt will return to dirt off a confidence-building victory over Keeneland's Polytrack (only his second career win). The surface won't beat Dullahan—it's a matter of whether he gets there in time—and he's probably the best deep closer in the Derby field.

If there is a horse in this field that can come out of nowhere and fly past the field down the stretch, Dullahan is that horse. He could make the Kentucky Derby very exciting indeed this season.


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