Don't over-think the 2012 Kentucky Derby—Bodemeister is the favorite for a reason. At 4-1 odds, he is the horse that experts have tagged as the horse to beat. Today at Churchill Downs, no horse will defeat Bodemeister.
The reasons are fairly simple. First and foremost, Bodemeister's advantage is his pure speed. He has run faster times in the races leading up to the Run for the Roses than any of the other horses in the field.
In some instances, speed is still paramount in the Derby, and this will be one of those years.
Bodemeister's last run was a clear example of that. In the Arkansas Derby he won by a stunning nine and a half lengths. He made the field—that included Kentucky Derby participant, Optimizer—look like they were on a Sunday stroll.
Perhaps the best quality Bodemeister exhibited in that race was his ability to close. The horses in the field were competitive with him until he hit the final stretch. At that point he nitro switch, and blew the field away.
The Arkansas Derby is one-and-one-eighth-mile. The fact that he was getting stronger at the end tells me he is prepared to finish the one-and-a-quarter-mile Kentucky Derby, just as strong.
It isn't just speed and closing ability that has me excited about Bodemeister. Trainer Bob Baffert's colt is peaking at the right time.
He finished second in San Felipe before his romp at the Arkansas Derby. He ran impressively, but came up just short. that race was one and one sixteenth mile. As he has progressed, and the races have gotten longer, he has run better with better results.
The Derby will be his showcase and perhaps his best run. Bodemeister is the real deal.
Follow Brian Mazique and Franchiseplay.net for reactions, analysis and news from the world of Sports and Sports Video Games