Reddam Racing LLC’s I’ll Have Another hopped on a plane on Monday afternoon headed to Baltimore, and by evening was relaxing in the stakes barn at Pimlico as the lone three-year-old with a chance of winning the Triple Crown after his upset win in Saturday’s 138th running of the $1 million Kentucky Derby (G1).
This is the earliest I can remember the Derby winner hitting the backstretch at Pimlico, as usually the stakes barn is fairly quiet until just a few days before the second jewel of the Triple Crown, which will be run this year on Saturday May 19.
The colt got another flawless ride from relatively unknown jockey Mario Gutierrez, who shipped his tack to Southern California after riding at Hastings Park where last year he was second in the jockey standings.
At the Santa Anita Park meeting that ended on April 22 he was 17th in the jockey standings with 13 wins from 127 mounts.
Through May 6 at Hollywood Park the jockey has one winner from ten mounts.
One of his wins at Santa Anita was the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (G1) where he piloted I’ll Have Another to a nose decision over Creative Cause.
Despite being undefeated in two starts as a three-year-old, the colt was sent off as the ninth choice in the twenty horse field, returning $32.60.
Much of the talk after the race was about the effort put in by runner up Bodemeister, who did all the dirty work early, setting sharp early fractions and managing to hold on to the runner up spot.
The $2 exacta paid $303.60. Dullahan (12-1) rallied from far back to complete a $2 trifecta that returned $3,065.60.
I’ll Have Another Scares Off Few
It looks as if the field will be large for the Preakness Stakes (G1). In addition to I’ll Have Another, the likely runners that exited the Kentucky Derby that are probably headed to Baltimore include second-place finisher Bodemeister, Went The Day Well (fourth), Creative Cause (fifth), Liaison (sixth), Union Rags (seventh), Hansen (ninth), and Optimizer (11th).
Runners that did not compete in the Kentucky Derby that are probable for the Preakness include Pretension and Brimstone Island, the one-two finishers in the Canonero II Stakes at Pimlico, Cozzetti, who was fourth in the April 13 Arkansas Derby (G1), Jerome (G2) winner The Lumber Guy, Hierro and Paynter, the one-two finishers in the Derby Trial (G3), and Tiger Walk, who was fourth in the Wood Memorial (G1).
“Union” Has Ragged Trip
I went into the race seeking my third straight winning Derby pick, but Union Rags was off poorly after getting bumped and squeezed back coming out of the gate. The colt had to take up when in behind Daddy Long Legs on the far turn and when finally clear began to pick it up late, making a belated rally to finish seventh.
After a less than stellar trip in his third place finish in the Florida Derby (G1) in his final prep for Saturday, I have a sneaky suspicion that if Union Rags heads to Baltimore, it may be with a new jockey, as Julien Leparoux has not had much luck in his last two starts after riding him to victory in the Fountain of Youth (G2) back in February.
“Indy” Fails to Take Charge
My second choice in the race was Take Charge Indy, who appeared to be sitting in a perfect spot saving ground along the inside under jockey Calvin Borel, and the inside part of the racing strip appeared to be the place to be as the afternoon went on.
However, the colt gave way and faded to finish 19th and trainer Patrick Byrne revealed after the race that the colt has a chip in his left front ankle and will have surgery this week and will be out for a couple of months.
The well bred colt by A. P. Indy out of the multiple stakes winner Take Charge Lady had won the Florida Derby (G1) in front running style on March 31.
Figs Come Up Light
I’ll Have Another earned a 101 Beyer Speed Figure for his Derby win, the lowest number since Giacomo pulled off the upset back in 2005.
Giacomo earned a 100 Beyer, which is the lowest number earned by a Derby winner since Andy Beyer started publishing the figures in 1987.
Record Crowd Handle Under Twin Spires
The party at Churchill Downs on Saturday included a guest list of 165,307, a record breaking crown for the track.
Wagering from all-sources on the Kentucky Derby race card was a record, totaling $187 million, an increase of 13.2% from the 2011 total of $165.2 million. The previous record for all-source handle on the Kentucky Derby card totaled $175.1 million in 2006.
All-source wagering on the Kentucky Derby race was also record-setting, up 18.8% from $112.0 million to $133.1 million. The previous record for all-sources wagering on the Kentucky Derby race was $118.4 million established in 2006.
On-track wagering on the Derby rose 7.1% from $11.5 million to $12.3 million, breaking the previous record of $12.1 million, which was set in 2008. On-track wagering on the Derby program increased 1.3 percent to $23.7 million.
Dialing Up the ADW’s
Betting under the Twin Spires, meaning online at Twinspires.com was not smooth for horseplayers on Saturday. Bettors were complaining online about not being able to get bets in and the minutes to post and results were not showing up in a timely manner.
Bet America’s betting platform was smooth all afternoon, and posters in the TVG forum had nothing but good things to say and there were no apparent problems wagering through their platform.
There were several horseplayers that reported online that Xpressbet has problems for a short time in the afternoon, but they are finally able to get their Derby bets in.
Premier Turf Club went down for about 15 minutes but was back up and running without any problems the remainder of the afternoon.
Michael Dempsey provides his selections for Belmont Park and Churchill Downs each racing day. Mike’s Best Plays Report is available each weekend, with his strongest plays and selections including the top stakes races.