Bodemeister dominated in the Arkansas Derby, giving trainer Bob Baffert a sweep of the Oaklawn Derby preps and punching his ticket to the 2012 Kentucky Derby with style.
In front at every call, Bodemeister never let up during the 1 1/8 mile race, and found yet another gear in the stretch. As stablemate Secret Circle tried to close from mid-pack, Bodemeister drew off from the field, widening with every stride, hitting the wire 8 lengths in front. Sabercat was 3rd. The final time was 1:48.71.
Ridden to victory by Mike Smith, the colt by Empire Maker now qualifies for the Kentucky Derby with the the winner's share of the $1 million Arkansas Derby purse.
Bodemeister is owned by Zayat Stables, and takes his name from trainer Baffert's youngest son, Bode. Though his three-year-old season has been impressive, Bodemeister must overcome a 130-year-old Derby jinx to win on May 5: no horse since Apollo in 1882 has won without making a start as a 2-year-old.