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Trainer and jockey praise Bodemeister's second-place effort

Trainer Bob Baffert says he's proud of Bodemeister, who finished second in the Kentucky Derby: 'It's the only time I've run second where I've been happy,' Baffert says, 'because he ran his race.'

May 05, 2012|By John Cherwa
  • I'll Have Another and jockey Mario Gutierrez edged out Bodemeister and jockey Mike Smith to win the 138th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
I'll Have Another and jockey Mario Gutierrez edged out Bodemeister… (Mark Abraham / AFP / Getty…)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — — Despite a second-place finish for Bodemeister, both his trainer and jockey were very happy with his effort.

"He ran his race," said Bob Baffert, who runs his barn out of Southern California. "He was there and just got tired a little bit. He's only run four times, and I was really proud of him. He's a super impressive horse.

"It's the only time I've run second where I've been happy because he ran his race."

Jockey Mike Smith agreed.

"He didn't finish first, but he's still a winner," Smith said. "He's such a free-running horse that I couldn't take that away from him. At the top of the stretch, I really thought we had it, but I knew we were in trouble when I saw Doug's horse [Doug O'Neill's I'll Have Another] coming."

Union Rags disappoints

The performance of Union Rags was one of the big disappointments of the day for the many bettors who made him the slight second favorite. He finished seventh and was never really a factor.

"He broke a step slow, and he usually breaks well from the gate," said jockey Julien Leparoux. "Then he got bumped, and we dropped far back. After the first turn and on the backside, I tried to find room inside but I had nowhere to go. At that time, I knew it was going to be tough to come back. It's unfortunate."

No horses hurt

No horses were visibly injured either in the Kentucky Derby or on Derby Day. One Derby horse, Daddy Long Legs was eased at the finish. Dr. Larry Bramlage, a respected veterinarian who oversees the health of the horses, said the colt overheated. He was given some water and was OK.

"His rider knew what was happening and just quit asking him," Bramlage said.

john.cherwa@latimes.com

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