Monday, December 11, 2017
Sports

Bodemeister favored again

BALTIMORE — Just as he was in the Kentucky Derby, Bodemeister is the favorite in the Preakness.

This time, Bob Baffert intends to justify the odds.

Bodemeister drew the No. 7 post Wednesday and was made the 8-5 morning-line favorite for Saturday's second leg of the Triple Crown.

The colt, trained by Hall of Famer Baffert, set the pace in the Derby before being overtaken in the stretch by I'll Have Another, who won by 11/2 lengths. I'll Have Another is the second-favorite in the Preakness at 5-2. The odds were set by Pimlico Race Course handicapper Frank Carulli.

Baffert, a five-time Preakness winner, was delighted to receive the No. 7 post in the 11-horse field. The field is the smallest since 2007, when Curlin beat Derby winner Street Sense in a nine-horse field.

"With (Bodemeister), anything in the middle would be fine," Baffert said. "With the Preakness, you just don't want to be stuck on the inside where you have to use your horse a little bit. The Derby winner drew really well, also."

I'll Have Another will start from the No. 9 post. The colt, who won the Derby out of the No. 19 post, will again be ridden by Mario Gutierrez.

"Anything with a nine in it, we feel very good about. We're cool with it," trainer Doug O'Neill said. "We talked about the possibility of being inside Bodemeister and really forcing our hand to push him early. Now it's in Mario's hands to still kind of push Bode, but we'll be on the outside of him."

Asked about having the second-favorite in the field despite winning the Derby, O'Neill said, "Bob Baffert has won five of these. I've never run a horse here. I totally respect that. I just hope anyone who bets Bodemeister is regretting it Saturday night."

A win would give I'll Have Another the chance to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

"I'm confident," O'Neill said. "You never know. But as long as we continue to train like our horse is training, we won't be that far off Bodemeister. If anything, Bodemeister might be behind us early."

Creative Cause trainer Mike Harrington, whose horse finished fifth in the Derby, was delighted with the No. 6 post.

"I don't think it affects our running style," Harrington said. "With 11 in there, post position is not nearly as important as the Derby. The middle is great. You couldn't ask for anything better."

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas has a long shot with Optimize but spoke optimistically after getting the No. 10 post.

"I love it. I love the horses inside of me," Lukas said. "I love the whole thing. If they gave me a pick, I would have picked that one. It turned out great. Every time they drew another one, it looked better."

peers 'disappoint' lukas: Lukas criticized the behavior of some other trainers, saying the actions of a few recent Kentucky Derby winners have tarnished the reputation of his profession.

"I'm very disappointed as a trainer that we have the stigma of some of our Derby winners not carrying the banner," Lukas said.

He cited Rick Dutrow (Big Brown, 2008), who is appealing a 10-year suspension in New York for multiple medication violations, and Chip Woolley (Mine That Bird, 2009), who last year was accused of urinating on slot machines at a track in Iowa.

Lukas also mentioned I'll Have Another trainer O'Neill, who faces charges of drugging a horse in California. O'Neill has denied the accusation.

"I think those guys are all good enough they don't need for there to be doubts," Lukas said. "I think they can train horses and not have that problem in front of them. They can do it the right way."

drug-ban debate: The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission said it would continue debating a proposal to ban the use of an anti-bleeding drug on race days, rejecting a motion to delay the issue for a year. The proposal would phase out race-day use of furosemide in graded or listed stakes races, including the Kentucky Derby. The drug is used commonly to treat pulmonary hemorrhaging in horses. It is banned internationally.

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