Bodemeister flies home in G1 Arkansas Derby

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bodemeister all alone at Arkansas Derby finish

After his 9 1/2-length romp on April 14 in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1), Bodemeister will send Zayat Stables and Bob Baffert to Churchill Downs with one of the favorites for the May 5 Kentucky Derby (G1).

Bodemeister was simply incredible in his first start away from his southern California base. His connections elected to skip last week's Santa Anita Derby (G1) and ship to Oaklawn Park, and the strapping bay colt proved to be too much for 10 overmatched 3-year-old foes.

Breaking very alertly from the outside post in the field of 11, Mike Smith was able to secure the top spot going into the first turn. Bodemeister's high cruising speed put him in front by a length and a half after a half-mile in :46.55 seconds. Stat, who was closest early, gave up the chase after six furlongs. Secret Circle, Baffert's other entry, put in his run soon after, but could get no closer than two lengths near the top of the stretch.

Smith shook the reins at his mount after straightening for the run to the wire, and Bodemeister rocketed away from the field for the easiest of wins. His final time of 1:48.71 earned a 105 Beyer Speed Figure, the highest number of any 3-year-old at over a mile in 2012.

“That was an exciting win. So impressive,” said Baffert, “When he broke his maiden (at Santa Anita on Feb. 11), he ran a race like that, and he had been working really well, too, at Santa Anita.”

“He ran hard, he ran fast, and the distance won’t be a problem,” Baffert said of his stable star “That was a mile and an eighth workout for him.”

Bodemeister will head straight to Churchill Downs from Oaklawn on Monday. Baffert, who has been in California resting as he recovers from a heart attack he suffered last month while in Dubai, has not yet scheduled when he will be coming to Kentucky.