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Handicapping the Preakness: Plenty of spoilers for Bodemeister

I'll have Another is fully capable of following up his Kentucky Derby win with a Preakness triumph.

May 19, 2012|By Liam Durbin
  • Preakness favorite Bodemeister, left, ridden by exercise rider George Alvarez, should be challenged by Creative Cause, top right, Went The Day Well and Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another.
Preakness favorite Bodemeister, left, ridden by exercise rider George… (Patrick Semansky / Associated…)

Recent history has been fairly kind to Derby starters who move forward to the Preakness. Some may go even further to call it a two-horse race. However, the way the Derby pace played out points to other possible outcomes.

For one, Bodemeister ran blistering fractions for the first half mile and first six furlongs. His ability to go so fast so early and still hit the board was impressive, and in fact had never been done before. But he has raced only four times and has never been brought back so quickly after a race. And in this case the race from which he returns was a classic distance of a mile and a quarter. Assuming his strategy remains the same — take charge of the lead and dash for the wire — this is a very tall order for a 3-year-old. He may be that good, but at 8-5 odds, it is worth examining other possibilities. He could well hang on to play a part in the exotics.

The likeliest spoiler is I'll Have Another, but his Derby effort was also so atypical that it needs a closer look. Up to that point, I'll Have Another had never raced outside California, had shown some distance limitations, and had been beaten by Creative Cause. While any Santa Anita Derby winner moving forward to win the Kentucky Derby should not be a huge surprise, in his case it was certainly a moderate one. Even with the Derby win in his dossier, there are others in this race who can beat him.

Creative Cause and Went The Day Well both had very tough trips in the Derby. Once they found room, they both made a solid run down the stretch. So to assume that I'll Have Another or Bodemeister is significantly better than them would be a mistake. Both the winner and runner-up had much cleaner trips to help them along. Of these two, Creative Cause should improve the most from the Derby.

Of the newcomers, none look like obvious "includes" in exotic wagers. The best any of them can claim is a third and fourth place in Grade I events (Teeth Of The Dog in the Wood Memorial, Cozetti in the Arkansas Derby, respectively). Not much separates these two, so Cozetti at 30-1 gets the nod based on value. He makes a logical add to exotic wagers, assuming one of the fresh horses gets in the trifecta.

It is gutsy taking a stand against Bodemeister, but at 8-5 it is worth it to try. Box Creative Cause, Bodemeister, Went The Day Well and Cozetti in exacta and trifecta wagers. Key Creative Cause on top of Bodemeister, Went The Day Well, Cozetti and I'll Have another in trifecta and superfecta wagers.

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