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Kentucky Derby 2012: Expert Predictions on Bodemeister's Triple-Crown Chances

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IMay 4, 2012

LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 28:  Bodemeister is riden on the track during the morning excercise session in preparation for the 138th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on April 28, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Despite the concern that Bodemeister didn't race at 2-years-old, he's the favorite heading into the 2012 Kentucky Derby on Saturday and has a shot at making history by claiming the Triple Crown this year.

Bodemeister only has four career starts, but his lone start of 2012 at the Arkansas Derby in April was eye-opening. He won that race by an astounding 9 1/2 lengths, destroying the competition en route to positioning himself nicely for Churchill Downs.

Rob Gregorka of OffTrackBetting.com wrote:

The unraced at 2-years-old trend is one of the last that has not fallen. It could fall this year though as Bodemeister is the best horse on the Triple Crown trail. He has run just four times in his career, but he looked so good winning the Arkansas Derby that it is easy to see how he could win the Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown.

Bodemeister's style of running has also impressed. He raced out to the lead immediately out of the gate at the Arkansas Derby and then simply left the rest of the field in the dust down the stretch. He not only has the speed to win the Triple Crown, but he also has the stamina and mentality.

Kevin Martin of CBS Connecticut wrote that "[h]is style of running indicates a predilection to be on or close to the leaders during a race."

However, Bodemeister's experience may be the biggest obstacle for him to win the Triple Crown. There are concerns about the bay colt needing more races to legitimately contend for the Crown. It's an unknown at this point: Will Bodemeister fly down the stretch like he did at the Arkansas Derby or will he be overwhelmed by the competition, particularly against the impressive field at Churchill Downs?

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Frank Brothers, who won the 1997 Kentucky Derby with Pulpit, said, via ESPN:

He's the kind of horse I believe can win the Derby. But if he gets bumped two or three times leaving the gate and he has to run again, will he do it? That's where experience comes in.

But people are forgetting that Bodemeister had 26 workouts last year. It's not like he was lounging around. Trainer Bob Baffert has been working him tirelessly and, the fact of the matter is, Bodemeister was too immature to thrust into action in 2011. That would have potentially hurt the horse and killed his confidence.

We should know by now that Baffert knows what he's doing. He didn't race Bodemeister for a reason last year. The result was a mind-blowing victory at Oaklawn Park this year.

Don't count out Bodemeister because of his experience. He has one of the most seasoned trainers in horse racing.


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