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Kentucky Derby: Bodemeister favored while TRJ territory’s Rousing Sermon gets no respect

May 3, 2012     E-mail this page to a friend!

by Gary Yunt, Churchill Downs, and TRJ staff

Zayat Stables LLC and Southern Equine Stables’ Bodemeister, the smashing 9½-length winner of the Arkansas Derby (Grade I) in his most recent start, heads an overflow field of 21 entered on Wednesday for Saturday’s 138th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI).

With 20 starters, the purse for the Kentucky Derby is $2,219,600 with $1,459,600 going to the winner. Post time for the Run for the Roses is 4:24 p.m. and the race goes as the 11th contest on the 13-race program that begins at 10:30 a.m local time (8:30 a.m. Mountain Time). In addition to the Kentucky Derby, five other graded stakes highlight the undercard.

Bodemeister, the morning-line favorite at 4-to-1, and Union Rags, the second choice at 9-to-2, are two of nine Grade I winners in the field that also features three Grade II winners and six Grade III winners that will break from the gate Saturday afternoon.

Trained by three-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert, Bodemeister did not make his racing debut until this January when he finished second in his initial try. Following a maiden win, Bodemeister ran second in the San Felipe to Derby rival Creative Cause and then crushed his Arkansas Derby rivals. Mike Smith, who won the 2005 Kentucky Derby on Giacomo, has the mount on Bodemeister, who will break from post position six.

Michael Matz, who saddled Barbaro to his Kentucky Derby victory in 2006, trains Union Rags, who comes into the Run for the Roses off a troubled third-place finish in the Florida Derby (GI). Runner-up to Derby rival Hansen in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) here last fall, Union Rags will be ridden by Julien Leparoux and break from post position four.

Hansen will attempt to become the first 2-year-old champion to come back the following spring and win the Kentucky Derby since Street Sense in 2007. Owned by Kendall Hansen and Skychai Racing and trained by Mike Maker, Hansen comes into the Derby off a runner-up finish in last month’s Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (GI) at Keeneland. Ramon Dominguez has the mount on Hansen, listed at 10-to-1 on the morning line and who will break from post position 14.

The pride of Idaho—and TRJ—The Racing Journal territory—is Rousing Sermon, who was raised at Treetop Ranches in Parma, Idaho, by owners Larry and Marianne Williams. Installed at 50-to-1 on the morning line, the confirmed closer is reminiscent of Giacomo, another confirmed closer, who won of the 2005 Kentucky Derby at 50-to-1. Like Giacomo, Rousing Sermon comes into the Derby with plenty of Graded-Stakes earnings, but no Graded-Stakes wins.

The field for the 138th Kentucky Derby, from the rail out, is as follows:
Post -- Horse / Trainer / Jockey / Odds
1 -- Daddy Long Legs / O'Brien / O'Donoghue / 30-to-1
2 -- Optimizer / Lukas / Court / 50-to-1
3 -- Take Charge Indy / Byrne / Borel / 15-to-1
4 -- Union Rags / Matz / Leparoux / 9-to-2
5 -- Dullahan / Romans / Desormeaux / 8-to-1
6 -- Bodemeister / Baffert / Smith / 4-to-1
7 -- Rousing Sermon / Hollendorfer / Lezcano / 50-to-1
8 -- Creative Cause / Harrington / Rosario / 12-to-1
9 -- Trinniberg / Parboo / Martinez / 50-to-1
10 -- Daddy Nose Best / Asmussen / Gomez / 15-to-1
11 -- Alpha / McLaughlin / Maragh / 15-to-1
12 -- Prospective / Casse / Contreras / 30-to-1
13 -- Went the Day Well / Motion / Velazquez / 20-to-1
14 -- Hansen / Maker / Dominguez / 10-to-1
15 -- Gemologist / Pletcher / Castellano / 6-to-1
16 -- El Padrino / Pletcher /Bejarano / 20-to-1
17 -- Done Talking / Smith / Russell / 50-to-1
18 -- Sabercat / Asmussen / Nakatani / 30-to-1
19 -- I'll Have Another / O'Neill / Gutierrez / 12-to-1
20 -- Liasion / Baffert / Garcia / 50-to-1
21 (also eligible) -- My Adonis / Breen / Trujillo / 50-to-1

All starters carry 126 pounds.

NBC Sports will air the Kentucky Derby in its three-hour telecast from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. local time (2:00 to 5:00 Mountain Time).