Friday, June 22, 2018
Sports

Derby boasts deep, talented field

Bob Baffert is happy to be anywhere these days, considering a heart attack flattened him in Dubai last month.

"After it was over, it felt like, 'Man, I just, I got a second chance here.' … It was just a weird scare," the Hall of Fame trainer said. "I've got to redo, change my lifestyle. I've got to take care of myself like I take care of my horses."

Life is good right now.

He's got the likely favorite in the Kentucky Derby with Bodemeister, a talented colt named after his son Bode, who is named after Dad's ski pal Bode Miller.

Bodemeister stamped himself as a standout with his 9½-length win in the Arkansas Derby, the most impressive performance in a season of prep races that have done little to clarify a muddled Derby picture. A full field of 20 horses is expected for the 1¼-mile race, and it will be one of the deepest and most talented for the Saturday race.

"All 20 horses are stronger than I can remember in years," said Dr. Kendall Hansen, whose light gray colt, Hansen, carries the family name and will be bet heavily. "There's no horse that's setting the world on fire yet. It's nice that you're not running against a Northern Dancer or a Secretariat."

Injuries that derailed favorites I Want Revenge and Quality Road in 2009; Eskendereya in 2010; and Uncle Mo last year have not been a problem this time. Rather it has been inconsistency among the top 3-year-olds that has opened the door for a handful of colts.

Bodemeister is arguably the most talented 3-year-old this year, although he lacks seasoning, never having raced as a 2-year-old. No horse since Apollo in 1882 has won the Derby without racing at age 2 Baffert had Bodemeister playing catch-up, with the colt making four starts in the run-up to the Derby. The only other Derby candidate to race that much is Prospective.

"I just took my time with him," Baffert said. "He was just immature."

Baffert demurs on Bodemeister as the likely favorite, suggesting Union Rags or Hansen could claim the top spot.

The past four Derby winners had just two prep races as 3-year-olds, including Super Saver in 2010. Among this year's top contenders, Union Rags was 3-1 as a 2-year-old, Creative Cause 3-2 and Gemologist 3-0, winning both of his starts this year.

"We'll continue to see winners of the Derby come from all different angles with various prep programs. It's all about everything going just right on that particular day," said Todd Pletcher, who won his first Derby with Super Saver and trains Gemologist.

This year's Derby promises speed in the form of Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Hansen and Trinniberg, winner of the Swale and Bay Shore in his past two starts but who has never run farther than seven furlongs.

Hansen led all the way in beating Union Rags in last year's BC Juvenile. Each of the previous four Juvenile winners never made it to the Derby starting gate, but this year eight Juvenile starters are likely to run.

. fast facts

138th Kentucky Derby

5 p.m. Saturday (post time 6:24), Churchill Downs, Louisville, Ky. TV: Ch. 8 Friday: Kentucky Oaks, 5 p.m. (post time 5:45) TV: NBC Sports Network

Comments
Florida eliminates Texas Tech at College World Series, faces Arkansas for title-round spot

Florida eliminates Texas Tech at College World Series, faces Arkansas for title-round spot

OMAHA, Neb. — JJ Schwarz hit a two-run homer and Florida built enough cushion to survive Texas Tech's six-run outburst over the seventh and eighth innings to eliminate the Red Raiders from the College World Series with a 9-6 win Thursday night....
Updated: 5 hours ago
Missed time a good mental reset for Raysí Matt Duffy

Missed time a good mental reset for Raysí Matt Duffy

ST. PETERSBURG — Missing all of 2017 might have been the absolute worst thing for Matt Duffy.Frustratingly idled as he eventually recovered and rehabbed from ongoing left heel issues, he couldn't play the game he loved, couldn't show the Rays o...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Sports on TV/radio for Friday, June 22

TODAYBaseballYankees at Rays7 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMDodgers at Mets7 p.m.MLBMarlins at Rockies8:30 p.m.FSFCFLWinnipeg at Montreal7 p.m.ESPN2College baseball, World SeriesMississippi State vs. Oregon State3 p.m.ESPNArkansas vs. Florida8 p.m.ESPNHorsesRoy...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

The NFL will suspend Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston three games without pay to start the regular season for violating the league's personal conduct policy. The suspension could be increased if he fails to meet certain undisclosed requirements expect...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

TAMPA — The news of Jameis Winston's suspension to start this season likely means the Bucs will have veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick stepping in at quarterback for the first three games of the regular season.Fitzpatrick took over as the starter for th...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Kevin Knox to Knicks makes NBA history locally

Kevin Knox to Knicks makes NBA history locally

More than a year ago, Kevin Knox stepped across the stage at the Straz Center to receive his high school diploma.On Thursday, the former Tampa Catholic star was on basketball's biggest stage as he fulfilled his lifelong goal of making the NBA.Knox wa...
Updated: 6 hours ago
2018-19 schedule unveiled: Lightning opens with five straight at home

2018-19 schedule unveiled: Lightning opens with five straight at home

NHL schedules all balance out at the end, but the Lightning will open 2018-19 with five straight home games and end the season with its last four on the road.The Lightning released its schedule Thursday evening for the upcoming season, with all sorts...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Without a first-rounder, Lightning still could have busy draft weekend

Without a first-rounder, Lightning still could have busy draft weekend

The Lightning doesn't have a first-round pick in this weekend's draft, but that's not to say the weekend couldn't be busy for general manager Steve Yzerman and his front office.The Lightning sent its top draft pick to the Rangers in February as part ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Next move is simple for the Bucs: Get rid of Jameis Winston

Next move is simple for the Bucs: Get rid of Jameis Winston

Trade him. Waive him. Cut him.Whatever.Just get rid of him.Jameis Winston should never play another game for the Tampa Bay Bucs.Plain and simple, he's a bad guy and the Bucs should have nothing more to do with him.He already will miss the first three...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves heís up to speed on bases

Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves heís up to speed on bases

ST. PETERSBURG – Rookie 1B Jake Bauers has impressed at the plate and in the field since his June 7 promotion.Also, with his hustling on the bases."I knew he played hard; everybody said that at every level,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "I di...
Updated: 9 hours ago