Not even the best thoroughbred trainers in the world are guaranteed an entry into the 2014 Kentucky Derby. Such was the case for Bob Baffert in 2013. After War Academy was eased up and did not finish in the Arkansas Derby, the misfortunes for Baffert’s barn continued. At the end of April three Baffert horses had qualified for the Derby, yet their status was still uncertain. Then on the Sunday before the Run for the Roses, Power Broker was ruled out. On the next day a final decision on Code West and Govenor Charlie was also made.
For the first time since 2008, there would be no horse running in the Kentucky Derby for the legendary trainer. But, that’s just horse racing and the result of a very challenging prep season. However, as with any Hall of Famer you can’t count them out for too long.
This weekend,Bob Baffert features two strong contenders in a Santa Anita Derby prep when Midnight Hawk and Chitu continue their pursuit of qualifying for the 2014 Kentucky Derby in the G2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes, worth a total of 17 points (10-4-2-1).
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Just because the connections for Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes Runner-up Bodemeister opted to pass on the Belmont Stakes doesn’t mean that the entire team has elected to do the same. While Bodemeister returned to his barn in California in preparation for races this summer, the remaining team members are headed to Belmont Park in attempt to settle the score.
Of course if we were in store for a final showdown between I’ll Have Another and Bodemeister it would be the biggest Triple Crown bout since Victory Gallop vs. Real Quiet in 1998 or Easy Goer vs. Sunday Silence in 1989. But because they are not going to meet for the final jewel the story line of revenge has an alternate angle in 2012. Because horse racing allows competition to go well beyond just the horses it means that on behalf of Bode, his owner and trainer are out to avenge his losses. (more…)
The majority of racing fans are pulling for a Triple Crown. The City of Baltimore seems to be locked in with the Kentucky Derby winner. The general public would love to see a name like this carry its legacy on to the final leg where New York City will be waiting with open arms. But the odds maker has spoken and Bodemeister is your Morning Line Favorite once again. Meanwhile, the Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another is stalking close behind. Oddly enough this story is setting up to be a precursor to the race itself, round two between the front vs. the stalker. Buckle up race fans, this one could get interesting.
Click Here for the 2012 Preakness Stakes ML Odds and Post Positions (more…)
The decision has been made; our Kentucky Derby runner-up is headed to Baltimore on Wednesday for a date with the horse that denied him the roses. In the opinion of Trainer Bob Baffert and Owner Ahmed Zayat Bodemeister has returned from the Kentucky Derby better than expected and looks fantastic. Following his gallop at Churchill Downs this morning is when Baffert made it official so it’s time to get ready for Bodemeister to make a 2nd run at getting the best of the Kentucky Derby winner.
The assumption has been that Bodemeister would be back for the Preakness Stakes but nothing is ever certain until the green light is given. This is especially true when a horse is coming off of back to back races where speed was the name of his game. In attempt to steal the race from the front of the pack, Bodemeister proceeded to torch the track at Churchill Downs behind a sweltering pace. Although it was a magnificent effort he wasn’t able to bring it home without behind gobbled up in the final 100 yards. (more…)
So the journey to the Kentucky Derby has just about reached the end of the road. The ride has been a joy but it’s not over yet. The only time the Kentucky Derby Trail really ends is after the field crosses the wire and the winner accepts the bed of roses. But who the winner will be remains to be seen. There can be multiple ways to interpret “Wide Open” as the description of a race but when it’s used in 2012 for the 138th Kentucky Derby it’s with very good reason. Before we jump into who The Derby Post is calling a winner, let’s open up the discussion on this year’s field.
Click Here for a complete look at the 138th Kentucky Derby Field, Post Positions and Morning Line Odds (more…)
Year after recent year Kentucky Derby trends are slowing fading but only one still withstands the test of time. Since Apollo in 1882 there has not been a Kentucky Derby winner that didn’t race at age 2. Talk about a few lifetimes ago, this trend dates back to a time where the Kentucky Derby wasn’t close to where it is today. Apollo is a horse so unidentifiable that it will only be a matter of time before the casket closes on this trend and he is known as a 19th Century Kentucky Derby winner. Until then however, he respectfully remains the owner of a feat that has been tested but never solved.
Dating back to the 1940’s there have been over 50 attempts at ending the Apollo Curse therefore it’s a trend that has had plenty of opportunities to fail. There is a lot of explanations that will combine the changes in the sport, the size of the field and the advantages of racing at age 2 but one day this trend will end. When is the question but is Bodemeister the answer? He could very well be and what’s interesting about this colt and his chances are some similarities with recent attempts.
Yes you read that correctly, Oaklawn Park is the place that Bob Baffert has owned on the 2012 Derby Trail. It’s also now the place where his streak will be put to a Grade 1 test in the $1 Million Arkansas Derby. It’s going to take more of the same to eliminate this field but he’s not going into battle alone. Coming with him is the jockey that rode in all three wins and more importantly so is the horse that was responsible for two of those wins.
The trickiest part about the troops accompanying him back to Hot Springs is that the two time winner isn’t even the morning line favorite. So since Baffert has a pair of horses representing the favorite and second choice then how hard is it going to be for him to walk away with 4 consecutive wins? That is a valid point but there’s still one hurdle that needs to be cleared. In his hall of fame career Bob Baffert has yet to win in the Arkansas Derby. So Game On, Baffert is on board for the challenge. (more…)
The final stepping stone on the road from California to Kentucky has arrived and Santa Anita has the chance to set the trail on fire. The G1 $750,000 Santa Anita Derby is as much of a staple on the Kentucky Derby trail as any of the preps and it holds its place amongst many of the all time California classics. A deep field is scheduled to enter the starting gate and of the 10, 9 of them will be gunning for #1. He’s number 1 because he’s the top ranked West Coast Kentucky Derby contender and on Saturday you will find him leading the post parade wearing No. 1. Creative Cause has earned every bit of it until Saturday when he will be put to the test again. He’s got the tools to carry on to Kentucky as a potential derby favorite but watch out because the field is ready to steal the spotlight.
Crunch time in California – Before we jump into Creative Cause vs. the field let’s take a look at one important factor on the Kentucky Derby trail; Who’s Out vs. Who’s In. (more…)
Secret Circle, Bob Baffert and Rafael Bejarano remained polished in their return to Oaklawn. This time the victory is beginning to give this colt a little more attention on the Kentucky Derby Trail because he keeps getting better and racing well as the distance continues to increase. As for Trainer Bob Baffert it’s three in a row times two. The win makes it his third consecutive Rebel Stakes win accompanied by his third consecutive win in as many Kentucky Derby Graded Stakes Preps at Oaklawn. (Southwest 1st and 2nd Division – Rebel). If he doesn’t return Secret Circle to Hot Springs for the Arkansas Derby then I will be very surprised and have to question that decision. Based on his experience with this identical situation though I think he’ll opt to be back in Arkansas.
In 2010 it was Lookin at Lucky, also owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, that scored Bob Baffert his very first Rebel Stakes victory. After the race the colt returned to California and the Santa Anita Derby where he ran a gamely race but didn’t have enough to win again and finished 3rd. From there he was off to the Kentucky Derby. It ended with a disappointing 6th but he bounced right back and spoiled a Triple Crown bid by Super Saver with a convincing Preakness Stakes victory. (more…)
The stakes are set for a very lucky day. Whether you decide that wearing green or drinking green beverages will summon the luck of the Irish, you are still going to need your handicapping skills ready for the G2 $500,000 Rebel on St. Patrick’s Day. The field for the 1 1/16 mile test will feature a packed house of 13 in the starting gate, all of which are hoping for a little bit of luck themselves. Leading the charge of contenders is a combination that put the finishing touches on another lucky day of racing when they capped off the Southwest Stakes Double by scoring them both; Bob Baffert and Rafael Bejarano.
The horse, Secret Circle, performed remarkably well here at Oaklawn his last time out and made Bob Baffert and Rafael Bejarano look even better. Though it was reported earlier that Castaway, their first winner in the Southwest double, was listed as probable for the Rebel, Baffert has elected to keep him in California until the Borderland Derby at Sunland next weekend. So it’s up to Secret Circle to once again finish the deal. Based on this colt’s racing career so far, it’s a deal that he is definitely capable of closing. (more…)