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Breeders' Cup 2017

Kentucky Derby 2012 Point/Counterpoint: Bodemeister vs Dullahan

The 2012 Kentucky Derby field takes shape more each day. This week Dead Heat Debates' Laura Pugh and Managing Editor Brian Zipse talk Bodemeister vs Dullahan - the top colts to come out of the Blue Grass and Arkansas Derby!


Dead Heat Debates
Zipse At The Track
Laura Pugh:
With three weeks left until the big dance at Churchill, one could not have asked for any more from the final two major preps that took place this weekend. Dullahan was ultra-impressive beating the juvenile champ, Hansen, and Bodemeister could not have been more visually impressive in his scintillating Arkansas Derby win. However, while both were impressive, Bodemeister gets my nod as the most impressive performance, out of the two.
Here you have a horse that came into the Arkansas Derby with three previous races, two of them being maiden events and only one was a stakes. That alone would be a cause for concern, when considering he would be racing much more experienced horses, including Secret Circle, Delta Jackpot winner Sabercat, the ever so dependable Jake Mo, and stakes winning Isn’t He Clever. Giving that type of experience away normally proves to be the undoing of a young inexperienced horse, and yet he shrugged off the pressure and won with ease.
Number wise, in his two starts before the Arkansas Derby, Bodemeister ran two back to back 101 BSF’s. One of those came against Creative Cause, who as we all know, is considered to be one of the top Californian threats heading into the Derby. After running two huge performances, including the stretch long duel with Creative Cause, one might have their doubts about Bodemeister being able to step up, yet again, and deliver another big race. Again, he shrugged off the pressure, and not only did he run a race equal to his last two, he exceeded them. Beyer awarded this horse a 108 figure for his effort, meaning he now has the highest figure of any three year old heading into the Derby. 

Dullahan is no stranger to graded stakes competition, he was coming off an effort that set him up well for a big performance this weekend, and already had an impressive win over the track suggesting that if any horse was going to be able to knock off Hansen, he would be the horse. One would also have to admit, the race was set up perfectly for him. He had a good rail running trip with solid fractions to run into. Bodemeister had never raced at Oaklawn, so he did not have the benefit of knowing the track, as Dullahan did.
As if having the 11 hole on a track with such a short run to the first turn wasn’t enough, Bodemeister bore out sharply at the break. Once Smith got him straightened out, he had to use Bodemeister so that he could clear the field and not get caught going wide into that first turn. The first quarter went in 23 flat, and thanks to the fact Oaklawn carded so many 8.5f races, and even one other 9f race, we have plenty to compare Bodemeister’s with. Bodemeister had fractions of 23 flat and a half in 46.55 seconds. Those times were right on par with the quickest opening fractions at 8.5f. Then at the 6f mark everything became the Bode show. His three quarters split was 1.11.39, the fastest split of any race over a mile. His split was easily the fastest of any race over a mile and was .01 of a second away from the fastest mile race on the card. His final time was over a second faster than what Alternation, an older horse, ran just one race before him. Bodemeister ran a huge race from start to finish, running legit opening fractions, and still had enough left to run a sub 12 final furlong. When looking at the trips the two horses had, I do not even see a comparison. One had the race set up perfectly in his favor, while the other had to do all the dirty work, after speeding from the far outside, and still had enough in the tank to not only win, but crush his opponents.
You may use the fact that Dullahan ran the fastest Blue Grass since the race was moved to Polytrack. That is a fact there is no getting around that. However, I will point out that once again, Dullahan was set up for that type of effort when Hansen set by far the fastest pace for any race run at over a mile on the card. The final times of horses that normally lay farther off the pace are dependent on the pace they have in front of them. In this case, Dullahan again had the perfect set up when Hansen was sent to the lead. Bodemeister, as I pointed out earlier, was on the lead every step of the way, even when setting a very legitimate pace. Another point, Bodemeister ran the second fastest edition of the race in the last decade. Over the last two decades, his time was the fourth fastest running.
With all of this in mind, meaning wire to wire tour de force, his 105 BSF, the trip he overcame, the fractions he set, and his quick final time, I do not see how anyone could possibly say Dullahan had the more impressive race. His time was faster, yes, but his Beyer was much lower and he received the absolute perfect set up. Dullahan did what a good horse does and that is to not drop the ball when a race sets up perfectly. Bodemeister did not have anything given to him. There is no comparison, Bodemeister, not Dullahan, had the most impressive performance of the weekend.

Brian Zipse:
Agreed. Of the two big Saturday performances, it was certainly Bodemeister who provided more flash and sizzle in romping home in the Arkansas Derby than did Dullahan in rallying from far back to run by Hansen in the late stages of the Blue Grass. However, what we are talking about, and what everybody is talking about right now, is who is going to win the Kentucky Derby in 18 days. To those ends, I’ll take Dullahan.

The one class horse he beat in the Arkansas Derby was his stablemate, Secret Circle, who is likely reaching his distance limitations. It tends to make the performance look much better when the rest of the field is dropping anchor. Dullahan meanwhile, had to run down a champion in Hansen, and he did it rather easily. He also did it like a horse who will love the extra furlong of the Kentucky Derby. Since none of these horses have ever run ten furlongs before, it is easy to get too wrapped up in how good they look at shorter distances. I want the horse that will be strong in the final furlong … a horse like Dullahan.

I thought you were anti-Beyer ratings? Anyway, I fully expected Bodemeister to run well in Arkansas. He was coming into it perfectly, getting better with each of his three previous starts, and running a distance, and in a pace scenario that fit his talent and experience well. He was primed for a big effort and he delivered. It was reminiscent of many Derby favorites who fired big in their last prep. More often than not, these horses are defeated in Louisville. I am convinced that Bodemeister has a big future in front of him, but I also believe that the Derby will not be his day. Whether it be experience, too much pace, or the distance, I fear the cards are stacked against him. I’d rather look to a horse who is fresh, and has plenty of room left for improvement to fire his best shot on the first Saturday in May … a horse like Dullahan.

Clearly both horses were happy with their respective racing surfaces on Saturday. I knew before the Blue Grass that Dullahan was going to be one of my Derby plays, so I was actually hoping that he would finish well without winning, but he was much too good to fulfill my selfish hopes for higher odds. I disagree that he had the great set-up in the Blue Grass. No one ran with Hansen early, which made Dullahan’s task of running him down all the tougher. He didn’t get the outside, clear trip that most closers prefer, but rather he was covered be horses to his outside and had to maneuver through the field. I consider it to have been the perfect prep for what he will need to do in Louisville.

Against that field, all Bodemeister needed to do was get to the lead in the run to the turn, and he did it beautifully. From there he was never pressured. No one was able to add any stress to his day. Keep in mind, that as talented as Bodemeister obviously is, his lifetime record is only two of four. In other words, when he has won, he has been in cruise control and won in smashing fashion with his talent. When he has lost, he was unable to look his vanquisher in the eye and come out on top. Now, as such a lightly raced colt, I will not hold that too much against him, but keep in mind just how much stress he will be under every step of the way in the 20-horse Kentucky Derby field. It would seem to be a recipe for failure. And you may argue that career record-wise, Bodemeister has things heads-and-tails over Dullahan, but that does not bother me one bit. Dullahan is a different kind of animal. He took a little time to develop and he needed more distance to really shine, and now he is getting good at the right time. This has been a description of a good percentage of former Derby winners.
Time only matters in prison, Laura. The fact that both horses ran well on Saturday, with strong times, only matters in that they are proving to be horses of ability. Good to know, but I could care less about the final times as for what it means in 2 ½ weeks. You only have to look at the final time of Animal Kingdom’s win in the Spiral last spring in preparation for his Derby triumph to understand that. I will be much more interested in the times on the board for the first three quarter miles of this year’s Derby. With the field that is lining up this year, it looks quite likely that the fractions will be strong, and as many horse that are as likely to be near that strong pace as there are, I think horses that can kick it in late will have the advantage in this year’s Kentucky Derby.
Hey, Bodemeister was my Star of the Week, so I’m with you on being impressed with his Arkansas Derby, but like I said that, is not what it’s all about in handicapping the Derby. I need a horse that will be thriving late while most of rest are getting really tired. Recent history has taught us that this is what wins more often than not, especially in this age of lightly raced horses, 20-horse fields, and contested early leads. Just look at recent winners like Giacomo, Street Sense, Mine that Bird, and Animal Kingdom as proof. You can bet your Indian Charlie or Bellamy Road type as the favorite, I’ll take Dullahan to roll right on by at twice the odds.

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Older Comments about Kentucky Derby 2012 Point/Counterpoint: Bodemeister vs Dullahan...

Anyone betting on Bode would be better off lighting the money on fire to heat their home. after running a 46 second half mile his next quarter was a slow 25.38 in other words he got a breather. He will not get one with Hansen on his butt. Union Rags is still the horse to beat.
Terry, in my opinion, weight does not make that large of a difference in most cases. He faced a very very very weak field in his southwest division, before he went to Sunland. There he was against much more experience horses. Stirred Up, I believe finished second to Bode finished third there. The top two had prior stakes exp, and had proven to be stakes caliber horses. If the wieght he picked up had anything to do with it, it was very little. Castaway is just not that fast of a horse nor is he that kind of class.
Dullahan had the advantage of a closers race curse to express hinmself upon.THAT WON'T be the case in a few weeks
when they added the wait to castaway look what happen,he damnear ran dead last in the derby unlike arkansas derby every one has to carry the same amount of pounds in which bode will pick up 8 more pounds
Bode got an optimal "Lone F" trip, which he may quite likely need to be successful. He does remind me a lot of Bellamy Road as well. I'm with The Zipster on this one!
I'm not big into race times, but lets face it. You don't see times for a 1m 1/8 at OP like Bode did that often. For a 3yo to do that at OP is very impressive. It was visually impressive. He easily beat his stablemate, who sure was fond of the OP surface coming in.
bodemister had better records on dirt than dullahan. that is his only advantage. both were expected to win giving on the conditions of their races were highly in their favor. bodemeister walks away on a speed track and dullahan wins on his home race against a horse with limited distance. bodemister will put a good deal of horses away in the derby, but i would say he would place or show.
I agree Tim. Dullahan is the stronger horse. He looks like he can take them all. Time will tell.
If visual impressions are all that matter, than yes Bode impressed everyone who is not looking down the road. But if you are a serious capper evaluating what you saw in terms of who showed you a card in his Derby hand, then hands down, it was Dullahan. Let’s not talk time, even though Dullahan ran the fastest 9F prep race to date on a track that should have produced one of the slowest. He even the beat the kids on the LA freeway that was so damn fast that they finally decided to sprinkle in some sand. No, let’s not mention that, cause we’ll end up getting 8-1, right Zipse? Ok then, lets talk who beat whom. Dullahan schooled future derby runner Prospective and went by Hansen, who still looks pretty good to hit the board at CD. Bodemeister beat a pack of 8.5 at best nobodies, two of whom will prove that point by finishing up the track under 15th in the Derby if they are lucky and if they decide to even run. Typically 15 of the 20 entered in the KD finish 10 lengths behind the winner. When you finish 9 lengths behind anyone , in a 9F race, you have no business running 10F’s. Based on competition, Dullahan turned in a better performance if you are considering competition to be relevant, and where I come from, it’s everything. So you don’t impress me by beating schlepps by umpteen lengths. You do impress me by beating a winner who put up a great fight, but still had no answer as he watched Dullahan pass him by. So if you’re impressed with margin of length with no consideration of who is eating your dust, then score yourself some Bode love. But if you view these races as opportunities to help you wager down the road, Dullahan just did you a solid by throwing down a card he didn’t have to, but did anyway. And for those of you who still think he may have issues with dirt, ask yourself where his home base is. If you looked at the majority of workouts and guessed CD, score yourself another point. He knows that track better than anyone. When he gets a chance to run the distance he is bred to run on CD, you will feel silly for thinking a little dirt in his hoof would matter.
Please bet on Bodemeister....I'll bet w/ history
I chose both colts for their wins this weekend and really like them both, but I think I might be leaning more towards Bodemeister on this one. Dullahan has an amazing rally, but Bodemeister did reaccelerate in the stretch with a wonderful turn of foot. If he's on the lead in the Derby I think he'll get cooked, but if he rates I think he's got a good shot.
This race will have all eyes on the break,what is going on up front and the time. I'm sure Dullahan fans will hope for Hansen and Bodemeister to slug it out while going 46. I don't expect it to happen. Hansen being caught in the Blue Grass had to bring doubts of his distance limitations. The Derby will have lots of horses besides Dullahan to worry about. I expect him to try to rate early on before stepping on it. The other angle is if Hansen lets it rip, Mike Smith has been in too many big wars to let Bodemeister burn with him.
Considering the trip he got in the BC Juvenile, I thought his last race on the Churchill dirt was quite good.
"If the Derby was run at Keeneland I'd take Dullahan in a second." spot on. "At Churchill Downs with a clean trip Bodemeister will romp!" not against G1 horses.
  • SteveHerron · Judging by his gutsy performances against Creative Cause in just his third start I think it's safe to say he can tangle with the best. He's got the trainer, pedigree, and turn of foot necessary to win the Derby. Dullahan has a good shot too, but due to the Arkansas Derby's relevance to the Kentucky Derby I'll stick with Bodemeister. If he loses the Derby, he'll win the Preakness and/or Belmont. · 2015 days ago
  • SteveHerron · Don't get me wrong, there are about 12 big Derby contenders. The Derby rarely goes to the best horse, which is my only reservation about Bodemeister because he'll need a smooth trip. In a race like the Preakness, the best horse often prevails. If he gets past the Derby, the odds are good he'll win the next two. · 2015 days ago
My question is..this horse has only won like 2 times right? And both at keeneland. Other times when he was tested on dirt he didnt show up. Yes, I know AK was a synthetic specilist going in, but his breeding showed otherwise. I think baffert will teach Body to rate, so if I had my choice Id go with Body. Not throwing Dullahan out, I just think theyr'es better ones in the field. Union Rags is still my strong choice.
Don't forget the two jocks who did the driving...Desormeaux & Smith got it done this past Saturday. The two wiley old veterans have both been there before. I'm sure both are pretty damn eager with their mounts going into this year's KY Derby. Both will be riding legit contenders for the Roses!
Synthetic doesn't do well on derby day, just a word of warning.
  • Wildcatter · Ever heard of a horse called "Animal Kingdom"? The synthetic myth was blown to bits by him last year! · 2015 days ago
The more Dullahan races, the more I like him. I think his chances in May are much higher than Bodemeister's.
Dullahan and Bodemeister were extremely impresssive and if they keep their form and they get decent trips and decent post positions then they look like the two to beat in the Derby. That is a lot of ifs!
Has an explanation been given regarding Dully's odd pull-up after the Blue Grass? I thought he was injured.

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