Bode Could Have Won If Kept Away From Inner Lane; Writer Doubts If Today’s Sophs Can Get Classic 1-1/4
By Warren Eves
After the Kentucky Derby was run I was left in puzzling state.
Despite the fact I love horses who prep for the Derby at Oaklawn Park I did not think Bodemeister would hit the board.
After watching the tape of the Kentucky Derby around 100 times(it’s true) I still was trying to come up with sound reasoning.
The final half-mile was covered in 52 seconds. So why, I asked myself, didn’t Dullahan or any of the other colts I had rated well get the job done?
It wasn’t until I had spent six hours reviewing the entire Derby Day racing card I began to form an opinion worthy of passing on.
My video tape rigors involve looking at a great number shots from the head-on camera. I look at every horse away from the barrier, the run down the backstretch, and then the shot of them coming to the wire. You can learn a great deal but it takes a lot of time and effort. Don’t forget the first race of the day was won with a last to first run by Atigun over a track called “sloppy.” So the racing surface, which has always changed like a chameleon, did just that on Derby day.
Seven Lively Sins in race five did not like the spray from his post one in race five. Magical Feeling lugged in crossing the gap, then lugged in on the fence down the backstretch before the rider got her away from the fence to save third in the 9th race Distaff. And in case you didn’t go over the Derby the colts who wound up on the inside in the run to the wire were going nowhere. Rousing Sermon, the colt I liked at a price, was inside early and through the lane going nowhere. Hansen? He wilted late.
Prospective was the colt with a legit excuse. He clipped the heels of Hansen 50 yards away from the barrier. His rider was lucky to stay aboard. His 18th place finish is a running line you should draw a line through.
Churchill Downs’ racing surface was sloppy to begin the day. Their retiring trackman performed admirably and had it fast in quick order–adding sand to the surface in the process.
My read? The running lane nearest the rail was not the fastest lane when the Derby field took the track. It deserved to be called “fast,” it’s just that the replays of the other races told me you had a better chance if you had your horse out away from the inside running lane through the stretch.
Some blamed Mike Smith for going too fast early. I never complain when a jockey puts my horses on the lead. Never!
On review, taking everything into consideration, if Smith had made a better read of the racing surface I believe Bode would have won. By easing away from the inner running lane Bodemeister could have won the Derby.
There’s two other angles you might be able to apply that make sense. For years now I have been forming an opinion that the “get” has been affected by pre-race medication and other substances. I believe this to be true and continue to research this area.
Several other factors to consider. Today’s trainers are not doing it the way they used to. I truly believe these colts, no matter what their bloodline, are simply not capable of getting the classic mile and a quarter distance. There are others out there that also hold this belief–so it’s just not this writer. This year’s crop was about as promising as it gets, yet when crunch time came nobody could deliver. Dullahan, my choice to win, was barely third. Barry Irwin’s colt Went the Day Well was coming on the best to the left flank of Dullahan nearing the wire.
Last but not least. You simply do not find any of these horsemen laying out a strong foundation for the most difficult run in a sophomore’s career. The daily workout regimen, nor the prep races used, are not being used like they used to be. Exothermic, a colt who I had rated in the top 10 most of the pre-Derby season, did his thing on grass. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see what he was capable of because of injury.
By now you must know about the dreaded rail. Aidan O’Brien’s colt Daddy Long Legs actually escaped post one in good order. He was right with the leaders out of the chute and to the first turn. What O’Brien has been doing lately is not working. Daddy Long Legs was in the race early and ran last. We hope he was not badly injured.
When they run the Preakness the flavor of the “wise guy” play will be Went The Day Well. He’s certain to be an underlay and I’ll probably look elsewhere if I do bet the race at all.
What puzzles me is the fact Bodemeister is even being considered a starter for the Preakness. If he runs I think he’s definitely a bet against. I posed the question to one respected handicapper this week regarding Bode coming back in the Preakness. His answer? ”Probably the owner.” That would be the Zayat Stables.
Notes scribbled across my official program–While going back and doing video tape review of the Oaks card at Churchill Downs on May 4 we picked up some interesting tidbits. Take the Edgewood at a route on the lawn for instance. Ignore the running line of Run a Risk who ran 9th. The three-year-old filly never had a fair chance. From post two she went in a bit. Then she raced up between horses on a four-horse spread and it got ugly. Run a Risk was pin-balled between foes before entering turn one. On the turn she was bumped and checked again. When Rusty Arnold brings her back make sure to use her in your exotics because that last line is misleading………………..Liked the effort of Harpsichord at Belmont over the Derby weekend. Called it better than looked because he broke out before scooting up to engage the leader from the inside before the turn. Should be playable at same maiden $20,000 level…………..The one thing that is getting overlooked in the Derby aftermath is all of the good things Doug O’Neill does over the course of a year. He treats the armed forces with reverence and that is something he can be proud of……………….Would someone please tell me why the factions who control Trinniberg would even consider running this colt in the Preakness?…………The New York Horsemen’s AssociWe cation is addressing the following: 1.) Threshold of 2mcg Bute in post race tests. 2.) No “adjunct” medication allowed. Those are just two of the areas they are talking about……….Rolly Hoyt twits: “We’ve had a 19 &20 win Derby in last 5 yrs. Avg. Graded cutoff 101k. Can we stop w/myth 20 horses too much and Graded earnings bad criteria? Answer. Some of these graded races are not that. The process of changing the grades takes too long and many times a graded race is simply not worthy of that distinction.