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The 2012 Kentucky Derby – The Recap

1) I’ll Have Another – (1st by 1 ½) This horse has a hard time earning respect. He is undefeated on fast dirt, undefeated around two-turns, and undefeated in 2012 (in three tough races.) Yet he still managed to go off as the 15-1 ninth choice in the Kentucky Derby. Yours truly was among those who did not quite believe. I said he was for real after the Santa Anita Derby, but still could not find myself truly believing that he could do it in Kentucky, especially from the 19 post. Well, he did, and he did it impressively. He’s bred to run all day, he’s still fresh, and after yesterday, I would have to say he is tractable. In fact, I believe the ability to relax back in 7th place early was what won him the race. Of course, the great trip did not hurt a bit, but give him all the credit for being push button enough to make life easy for rider Mario Gutierrez. Assuming Bodemeister is in the Preakness, I’ll Have Another will not be the favorite once again, but that clearly does not stop him from winning everything he enters this year. He has as good a shot as any to win again in two weeks.


2) Bodemeister – (2nd by 1 ½) The talent was there, a blind man could see that, but what Bodemeister did yesterday is worthy of all the praise he is currently receiving. You don’t see horses run 1:09 and change and almost win the Derby anymore. He is reported to have come out of his near wire-to-wire virtuoso in great shape. I’m sure there will be the thought of resting him after the big performance, but this horse needs to be in the Preakness, doesn’t he? The condition on the Churchill Downs track, fast and speed favoring, did not hurt him one bit, but a repeat performance in the Preakness could well be enough to reach the winner’s circle. Much will depend on how much early speed is in Baltimore in my mind, but look for him to be the favorite to turn the tables in the Middle Jewel. 

3) Dullahan – (3rd by 1 ¾) My Kentucky Derby selection ran a very good race, but not good enough. His only excuse is that he had to run widest of all on the far turn, but that has to be expected from a one-run horse. Maybe if Bodemeister had been pressured more early, or maybe if the track had been a little more friendly to late closers, his late kick would have packed a little more punch, but in truth, he was only 4th best yesterday. My guess is his connections may decide to wait for the Belmont, but as well as he ran yesterday, I hope they bring him back in the Preakness. Like the entire top 4, he is clearly thriving physically at the right time. 

4) Went the Day Well – (4th by 2 ½) Speaking of physically thriving, this is one horse who ran as good as he looks. After having some trouble early in the race, he was left with way too much to do in the stretch run. Despite that, he kept trying and was clearly running the best the last quarter mile, and was actually second not long after the finish line. Coming out of only one stakes race, and against much weaker competition in the Spiral Stakes, this was a huge step-up effort. He should be on to the Preakness, where he now must be considered one of the horses to beat.

5) Creative Cause – (5th by 3) Much like all of his races, Creative Cause ran a solid race in the Kentucky Derby. He was forced out a bit on the far turn, but had every chance at the head of the stretch. He simply was not as good as the winner from there. Considering the consistency of his performances from the beginning, this one deserves another chance or two along the Triple Crown trail.

6) Liaison – (6th by 7) In the middle of the pack early, he made up some ground on the far turn just inside of Creative Cause, and ran on decently to hold on to sixth place over a fast finishing Union Rags. Liaison probably did just enough to earn a trip to Baltimore.

7) Union Rags – (7th by 7 ½) Was this year’s unlucky loser. He broke half a step slow, and from there, he had very little go right. Being squeezed soon after the start, trapped down on the rail, and heavy traffic on the far turn, all conspired to leave with him no chance to win the Kentucky Derby as the second choice. He rallied admirably to just miss 6th place, making me wonder what might have been. Not sure if they will decide to go to the Preakness or the Belmont next, but if you liked him going in, there was nothing there to lose one ounce of faith in this talented horse.

8) Rousing Sermon – (8th by 8 ¼) Grabbed a good position in the back half of the field early, and made a steady, but non-threatening rally from the rail to finish 8th of 20. I would not expect to see him in Baltimore.

9) Hansen – (9th by 10 ¼) It was an interesting choice to see Hansen somewhat held back from the top two spots early, but an understandable one considering the fractions. He was clearly headstrong going into the first turn, which probably helped to take something out of him. He kept trying but simply could not keep up with Bodemeister after the first quarter mile. Good chance that Doc Hansen gives him another shot in the Preakness, which could drastically change the outlook of the race, especially if they decide to cut him free early.

10) Daddy Nose Best – (10th by 11 ½) A few bumps here and there, but overall, no real excuse for the wiseguy horse of the 2012 Kentucky Derby.

11) Optimizer – (11th by 12) Down on the inside most of the race, Optimizer finished with some interest, but never looked to make serious noise. A turf race would make more sense, but do not be surprised to see Lukas push him further down the Triple Crown road.

12) Alpha – (12th by 19 ¼) Was in the middle of the pack early, and never displayed any sign of interest from there. He looked hot and may have expended too much of his energy in the paddock and the lead-up to the race.

13) El Padrino – (13th by 20) Broke a bit slow, and was last for much of the early part of the race. He did show interest in coming on from the far turn, but traffic and a sound bumping sealed his fate of only passing seven tired horses.

14) Done Talking – (14th by 23 ½) Too slow going in, and too slow coming out.

15) Sabercat – (15th by 24 ¾) Went a little wide on the first turn, and made a bit of a move on the backstretch, but had little left for the stretch run.

16) Gemologist – (16th by 30) After breaking well and grabbing good early position, the lone undefeated runner going in, showed little and defeated only four horses in the most disappointing performance of the field.

17) Trinniberg – (17th by 31 ½) As expected, he showed a strong amount of speed to be closest to Bodemeister early before fading when the real running began on the far turn. He should return to the sprinting game from here.

18) Prospective – (18th by 34 ½) Any chance at all was lost in the opening furlong when he clipped heels and almost went down. From there he showed little and could only best a pair of horses struggling physically.

19) Take Charge Indy – (19th by 50) Had a good position close to the early pace from the inside, but gradually faded to the back of the pack. He was reported to have been sore after the race and X-rays have revealed a bone chip in his ankle.

20) Daddy Long Legs – (20th - eased) Had early speed, but the Irish invader wilted under the Kentucky Derby and Louisville heat. 


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Older Comments about The 2012 Kentucky Derby – The Recap ...

IHA got a dream trip, I'd rather own Union Rags who moved up 14 places, or DUllahan who was closing (and Durkin would have mentioned).
  • hotgrowth · cocoa2, you will eat those words down the road. Union Rags is way overrated. Dullahan is far better on synthetic and the 2 horses that will shine are IHA and WTDW. · 2086 days ago
  • cocoa2 · We'll see on the 9th. · 2069 days ago
Watched the race several times again this morning. Guiterrez made two key moves with I'll Have Another. Both occurred at the top of the stretch. One at the start, one coming for home. The first was getting him out of that 2nd gate to a wide open space through the stretch so he could relax the horse through the clubhouse turn. The second was pretty remarkable since this was Guiterrez' first time in a race of this magnitude. When spinning off the turn at the 1/4 pole, he was out in the middle of the track with Went the Day Well. The key move was sliding him back inside to make his run at Bodemeister. The closers that stayed out there kept coming but it was too late. That move was make or break for him in catching the game Bodemeister. Bodemeisters' ability to burn those fractions and still be running at the end was quite impressive.
just imange thet i'll have another wins the prekaness....
i became a fan of iha when he nosed out cc in cali;; sadly i didnt play him in the derby cause of post 19;; my mistake;; i will definely have him on top with another horse at pimlico in my super ;; this horse has the best nerves i've seen since zenyatta;; crowds dont faze him;; did u all see hansen in a sweat?;;
Churchill Downs has a nice long stretch, perfect for closers. Pimlico does not, however, and closers CAN win, but need to start on the turn. Don't pass them by, Gemologist, Union Rags, horses that can go wide and do.
Pimlico typically is speed favoring, so the pace in the Preakness will likely be a replay of the Derby. As others have mentioned, I expect Hansen to cut loose rather than rate. Dullahan is a great closer and another hot pace may set up well for him, but is Pimlico the right place? Is three races in five weeks too much for Bode? Union Rags surely will get a better trip -- with a new jockey?? I like this bunch this year.
Seems there is always an excuse for everybody's favorite horse. Seems like a noticed a trend with Union Rags. He would find traffic issues in a two horse race. Yes he is talented and makes the best of it, but maybe it is a jockey issue?
Beat me to the punch ;-) I have to admit, I wasn't on I'll Have Another's bandwagon either, but I think I'll jump on now. I'd be a fool not to do so. Bodemeister ran the best 2nd place I have seen, but Dullahan was gunning for them. I honestly think he could have won if he hadn't been hung so wide on the turn. Can't wait to see the Preakness!
I don't see anyone beating Bodemeister in the Preakness
I would love to see a Bodemeister I'll Have Another rematch in the Preakness, and both Hansen and Union Rags deserve another shot in a 14 horse field. I Think Bodemeister is really peaking and unless the effort took a lot out of him he will be better in the Preakness in two weeks. I don't understand why people think two weeks between races is too short, for decades this was the preferred schedule, all the Triple Crown winners from the 1970's had their last prep two weeks or less before the Derby and were able to win three tough races in 5 weeks. even today every horse that won the Preakness since 2000 ran in the Derby and most of them became 3 year old champions.
Note to Todd (Mr. Overrated ) Pletcher: Maybve working a horse a half in 50 a week before the race isn't the way to really condition a race horse. Ever notice how this Blowhard so often goes missing on high profile race days when maybe the testing scrutiny is a little more exacting?
@AndyScoggin. I agree. Bodemeister deserves a break after accomplishing so much in a short time this year.
I'll Have Another has earned my vote as the top three year-old with his impressive Derby performance. Call me crazy, but I would give Bodemeister a rest and then go for one of Baffert's favorite $1,000,000 races, The Haskell. To come back in two weeks after the Ark Derby and Ky Derby seems like a very tough task. Give Bode 2 months off and head to Mth and then the Travers.!.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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