Saturday, May 19, 2012

Will Bodemeister Buck History?

The courageous Bodemeister may attempt to take the Preakness field on a merry chase from gate to wire. If he manages this, he’ll be only the second horse in eleven years to accomplish this feat.

The Preakness Stakes is not kind to front runners. The only horse to wire the field in the last eleven years was the phenomenal Rachel Alexandra. Even the front running War Emblem and Shackleford switched tactics in the Preakness and rated in second place before grabbing the lead in the stretch and racing on to victory. Other than Rachel Alexandra, the only other pace setter who managed to finish well was First Dude in 2010. The large colt lead held a comfortable one length lead at the ¾ pole after setting solid, but not overly fast fractions. Lookin At Lucky grabbed the lead in the stretch and posted a ¾ length victory over First Dude.

Many handicappers think that Bodemeister is the lone speed and can’t or won’t rate. Most feel that the Preakness is shaping up as a match race between Bodemeister and the Kentucky Derby hero I’ll Have Another. But this year, rarely have the expected match races shaped up as planned. Remember way back in March when Union Rags was supposed to go head and head with El Padrino?

We won’t know until the gates open whether his pilot Mike Smith will attempt to settle the Bodemeister off of a front runner. There is speed to his inside in the form of Teeth of the Dog and Pretension. Neither colt owns Bodemeister type speed, but could run fast enough to keep things interesting. I’ll Have Another may also sit closer to the pace. Mario Gutierrez wisely kept the son of Flower Alley farther back than usual in the Derby to avoid being caught in the wake of Bodemeister’s rapid fractions.

Another colt who should be closer than he was in the Derby is Creative Cause. The pretty gray colt generally prefers to sit within four lengths of the lead, but was taken out of his typical running style in the Derby. Creative Cause was twelve lengths off of the lead in the opening stages of the Derby and was stuck eight wide at the ¼ pole. He still managed to gain a few lengths through the stretch and finished three lengths behind I’ll Have Another.

The fourth place runner-up in the Kentucky Derby also comes back for another shot at glory. Went The Day Well flew through the Churchill stretch coming up only 2 ½ lengths short of the winner and ¾ length and a neck from second place. The lightly raced colt’s speed figures have improved in every start and if he gets at least a moderate pace to run at, you can be sure he’ll be storming down the lane again.

The Kentucky Derby “wise guy” horse Daddy Nose Best, had traffic troubles during the running of the race and checked in tenth. A better effort is expected from him.

The other pretty gray horse in the field is Cozzetti. The son of Cozzene owns only a maiden win in the slop to his credit, but made up some ground in the Tampa Bay Derby to finish third. So far, Cozzetti either isn’t as good as his connections think, or the colt simply hasn’t decided who he wants to be when he grows up. His breeding screams turf, but like his dirt starts, Cozzetti’s turf races have been rather average. Typical of many turf runners, he has a proven affinity for mud. Unfortunately for Cozzetti, rain isn’t in the Preakness forecast.

Optimizer is also looking to improve his dirt form in the Preakness. Like Cozzetti, the son of English Channel has a strong turf pedigree. He has proven turf form, but his connections insist on attempting to make him something he isn’t – a graded stakes winner over dirt. Optimizer used his late turn of foot to pass rivals in the stretch of the Arkansas Derby, but most of them were struggling after chasing the fractions set by Secret Circle. Perhaps once Optimizer’s connections get the Triple Crown fever out of their system, they’ll let the well-bred Optimizer fulfill his turf potential.

Teeth of the Dog and Zetterholm are both lightly raced colts with good records and improving speed figures. They are taking a huge jump in class and may be out of their league. Pretension is the local hope and owns a win over the Pimlico surface. He’ll try to follow in the hoofprints of Magic Wisner and Scrappy T, two locals who made good in the Preakness. Tiger Walk has proven that graded stakes competition is above his class level.


How much did the Kentucky Derby take out of the gallant BODIEMEISTER? We won’t find that out until the stretch of the Preakness. The son of Empire Maker is showing hints of greatness, so maybe we’ll be treated to another display of torrid speed mixed with stamina. I’LL HAVE ANOTHER is undefeated as a three year old, but doesn’t seem to garner the same respect. WENT THE DAY WELL is the Preakness wise guy. He’s improving and lightly raced. His late pace speed figure for the Derby was better than the top two finishers. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the winner’s circle. CREATIVE CAUSE is a gutsy horse who tries hard every time. He’s had a tough campaign this year, but he’s another who could finish in the money. DADDY NOSE BEST will take another shot at Grade 1 company. He could jump up for a minor award. The local horse PRETENSION could get brave if he winds up stalking Bodemeister. Everyone wants a Triple Crown winner, so we’ll hope one of the lesser entrants presses Bodiemeister and we have another.




#8 DADDY NOSE BEST – longshot pick