Zipse: Looking like a serious horse, Bodexpress back in stakes

December 09, 2019 10:42am

Little attention was paid to the two colts who would ultimately run first and second in a Feb. 16 maiden race at Gulfstream Park.

Shancelot, at nearly 13-1, flashed his plentiful early foot to the tune of a :44 1/5 first half mile.
Bodexpress, the 7-1 fourth choice, stalked that blistering pace and gained on the leader throughout the entire stretch. On the wire, it was Shancelot holding on by a neck in 1:08 4/5, with the rest of the field left reeling in their wake.

For the impressive debut winner, it was only the beginning of an excellent season around one turn, which ultimately concluded with a strong second place finish behind Mitole in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

As for the runner-up Bodexpress, it marked the fourth consecutive loss to start his career, but it also showed real potential for the colt who twice went unsold at respective sales at Keeneland and Timonium.
So much potential, in fact, that his connections made the surprising decision to run their maiden next in the Florida Derby (G1).

Owned by Top Racing LLC, Global Thoroughbreds LLC and GDS Racing Stable and trained by Gustavo Delgado, Bodexpress was part of an 11-horse field for the $1 million race at Gulfstream Park. Not surprising, as a non-winner, he was sent off at odds of 71-1 in the nine furlong affair, then outran those odds.

Stalking the early pace of the undefeated
Maximum Security, Bodexpress found good position in second early. The leader never slowed down, but the longshot maiden never backed up, either, finishing a clear and shocking second. Behind him most notably was the future Travers (G1) and Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) winner Code of Honor.

All three headed to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby and became important players in the wildest edition of the run for the roses ever. 

We all are well aware of what happened with Maximum Security bothering several horses before resolutely hitting the wire first. After Saturday's big win in the Cigar Mile (G1), he's all but wrapped up divisional honors. Code of Honor, meanwhile, was bumped a little on the rail, and was placed second after the controversial disqualification.

The maiden did not fare quite so prominently at the finish at Churchill Downs as did his Florida Derby rivals, but he too was part of the excitement, having been right there on the turn before being bothered badly heading into the stretch.

Off his troubled 13th-place result in the Derby, Bodexpress was once again given the opportunity in a classic.

What happened in the Preakness Stakes (G1) only added to the cult-like status of this maiden. While War of Will, who was also bothered in the Derby, won racing's middle jewel, Bodexpress reared up at the opening of the gates and dropped his Hall of Fame rider, John Velazquez, in the very first step of the big race.

Now nationally recognized without ever having finishing first in a horse race, Bodexpress was given a break after what his trainer called a "stressful event". The famous maiden began working out again before the summer was complete.

Making his return to the races some five months after the unfortunate start of the Preakness, Bodexpress had little problem in finally winning a race Oct. 14 at Gulfstream Park West.

With a victory, the son of Bodemeister came back five weeks later and blitzed his allowance competition at the same track. The 6 3/4-length victory was completed in 1:35.58, which easily broke the one-mile track record at the venue formerly known as Calder.

Suddenly streaking, and a more mature version of the maiden who ran some big races earlier in the year, Bodexpress looks to be a horse who can make some real noise in 2020 as a 4-year-old.

Before that can happen, though, he'll get his final chance to become a graded stakes winner in his 3-year-old season when he takes on a field of older horses in Saturday's
Harlan's Holiday (G3) at Gulfstream Park. Among his expected competition will be the defending winner, Prince Lucky, in what for some contenders will amount to as a local prep for the Jan. 25 Pegasus World Cup (G1), the $9 million race to be led by Maximum Security.

With strong tactical speed and proven ability to compete against the best of the class, Bodexpress has graduated from an oddity into a serious racehorse.

He's no longer just a maiden running in the classics, or the horse who dumped his jockey at the start of the Preakness. Now he's a track record holder, and a serious threat in important races.

As of Saturday afternoon, he may also be a graded stakes winner.

 

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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, American Pharoah and Justify. 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. His new racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, created the popular racing show, HorseCenter 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 hosting 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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