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Kentucky Derby 2012 Odds: Bodemeister Is Early 4-1 Favorite

By COLIN FLY 05/03/12 06:08 AM ET AP

Bodemeister Kentucky Derby

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Dr. Kendall Hansen wasn't worried when the Kentucky Derby draw came down to No. 14 spot or the dreaded No. 1 hole. He figured his good fortune would continue.

"I don't know why I just felt lucky. I was pulling for that from the beginning – 14 or 15," said Hansen, whose horse by the same name starts with 10-1 odds as the fifth choice with no winner coming from No. 14 post in 51 years. "You have to breathe through times like that, but yeah, it was interesting. I had a good feeling, though."

Bodemeister was made the early 4-1 favorite for the Kentucky Derby on Wednesday, with Union Rags a close second choice at 9-2 in a full field of 20 horses. Gemologist is third at 6-1 followed by Dullahan at 8-1 and Hansen, the near all-white colt who won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in November.

"To have an adrenaline rush with little peas coming out of a bottle is kind of fun," said Hansen, who operates a pain management clinic in Crestview Hills, Ky.

Meanwhile, the focus remains squarely on the top choices – Bodemeister in the No. 6 post, where six winners have started, and Union Rags in No. 4, where Super Saver won in 2010.

"My original thought was that I wasn't crazy about it, but where everybody is, I don't think it's so bad," Union Rags trainer Michael Matz said.

Bodemeister, trained by three-time Derby winner Bob Baffert, is the stronger of his two horses, having won the Arkansas Derby by 9 1/2 lengths in the most dominating performance of the Derby prep races. His other, 50-1 shot Liaison, landed the No. 20 spot for Saturday's race.

It's the third time the Hall of Fame trainer has had the early Derby favorite. The first two didn't work out.

Lookin At Lucky drew the inside post in 2010, got trapped along the rail and finished sixth. In 2001, Point Given was the heavy favorite and wound up fifth. He went on to win the Preakness and Belmont stakes, the final two legs of the Triple Crown.

"At least we're in a position where we have a good chance of winning," Baffert said. "If I got the one-hole I would be thinking they just don't want me to win this Derby. After Lookin At Lucky, when he got the one-hole, the excitement just left me because I knew he had too much to overcome."

Baffert had a heart attack on March 26 in Dubai, scaring his 7-year-old son Bode, who was with him and is the namesake of the Derby favorite.

"I just hope I have a chance to get my heart rate going turning for home," said Baffert, whose War Emblem was the last wire-to-wire Derby winner in 2002.

Matz won the Derby in 2006 with Barbaro only to have the colt stunningly break down after the start of the Preakness. Barbaro valiantly fought his injuries, but was euthanized eight months later.

Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia said if Bodemeister had drawn the No. 1 or 2 post, he would have made Union Rags the favorite.

"I wanted to make them co-favorites," he said. "I haven't been this close on two horses since Curlin and Street Sense (in 2007). I wanted to make them co-favorites and I didn't. They went off 10 cents apart."

Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Hansen and Daddy Long Legs have the most graded stakes earnings in the field. Hansen leads the list with more than $1.5 million, while Daddy Long Legs has $1.2 million.

Steve Asmussen, who is 0 for 9 in the Derby, will saddle two long shots in 15-1 Daddy Nose Best and 30-1 Sabercat.

Optimizer is the record 45th Derby starter for trainer D. Wayne Lukas, a four-time Derby winner. The colt will break from the No. 2 post and is one of five 50-1 shots. He got into the field when Mark Valeski was withdrawn from consideration Tuesday.

The 21st horse on the earnings list is My Adonis, an also eligible who would need a defection before 9 a.m. EDT Friday, when Derby wagering opens, to get into the 1 1/4-mile race.

The horses in post-position order are Daddy Long Legs (30-1), Optimizer, Take Charge Indy (15-1), Union Rags, Dullahan (8-1), Bodemeister, Rousing Sermon (50-1), Creative Cause (12-1), Trinniberg (50-1), Daddy Knows Best (15-1), Alpha (15-1), Prospective (30-1), Went the Day Well (20-1), Hansen, Gemologist, El Padrino (20-1), Done Talking (50-1), Sabercat (30-1), I'll Have Another (12-1) and Liaison.

The draw was a traditional pill pull in which horses' entries are pulled at the same time as a numbered pill to determine what stall a horse will break from the starting gate.

If all 20 horses start, the $2,219,600 purse would be the richest since 2005, when the Derby first became a guaranteed $2 million event. The winner earns $1,459,600. Post time is 6:24 p.m. EDT.

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AP Racing Writer Beth Harris contributed to this report.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Daddy Long Legs- 30/1

    Daddy Long Legs, who disappointed in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in his previous visit to Churchill, returned with a strong win in the Group 2 U.A.E. Derby over the Tapeta at Meydan. (Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

  • Optimizer- 60/1

    Exercise rider Joel Cano and trainer Wayne Lucas walk Kentucky Derby entrant Optimizer off the track after a workout at Churchill Downs Tuesday, May 1, 2012, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • Take Charge Indy- 15/1

    Take Charge Indy, ridden by Calvin Borel, wins the Florida Derby horse race at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, March 31, 2012, in Hallandale Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Gulfstream Park, Adam Coglianese)

  • Union Rags- 9/2

    Union Rags, ridden by Julien Leparoux, captures the Fountain of Youth horse race Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla. (AP)

  • Dullahan- 8/1

    Jockey Kent Desormeaux guides Dullahan to a 1 1/4-length victory in the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, April 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)

  • Bodemeister- 4/1

    Kentucky Derby hopeful Bodemeister, under exercise rider Peter Hutton, tunes up on the track at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Tuesday, April 24, 2012. (AP)

  • Rousing Sermon- 50/1

    Jockey Rafael Bejarano, right, hold off Rousing Sermon, ridden by jockey Joseph Talamo, left, while riding Liaison to victory in the $100,000 Real Quiet Stakes horse race, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011, at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Benoit Photo)

  • Creative Cause- 12/1

    Heinz Steinmann's Creative Cause and jockey Joel Rosario win the Grade II, $300,000 San Felipe Stakes horse race, Saturday, March 10, 2012, at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. (AP Photo/Benoit Photo)

  • Trinniberg- 50/1

    Jockey Willie Martinez rides Trinniberg to win the Grade III Bay Shore horse race at Aqueduct, Saturday, April 7, 2012, in New York. (AP Photo/New York Racing Association)

  • Daddy Nose Best- 15/1

    Groom Geraldo Morales washes Kentucky Derby hopeful Daddy Nose Best after a morning workout at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Monday, April 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Alpha- 15/1

    Alpha, with jockey Ramon A. Dominguez, captures the Withers horse race at Aqueduct in New York. (AP Photo/New York Racing Association, File)

  • Prospective- 30/1

    Exercise rider Juan Bernardini gallops Kentucky Derby hopeful Prospective over the track at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Tuesday, April 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)

  • Went The Day Well- 20/1

    Exercise rider Zeke Castro walks Kentucky Derby entrant Went the Day Well after a workout at Churchill Downs Tuesday, May 1, 2012, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)

  • Hansen- 10/1

    Hansen, ridden by Ramon A. Dominguez, races to the finish to win the Gotham Stakes horse race at Aqueduct in New York. (AP Photo/NYRA, Adam Coglianese, File)

  • Gemologist- 6/1

    Gemologist, ridden by Javier Castellano, wins the Wood Memorial horse race at Aqueduct racetrack Saturday, April 7, 2012, in New York. (AP)

  • El Padrino- 20/1

    El Padrino (7) with jockey Javier Castellano pulls ahead of Mark Valeski with Rosie Napravnik to win the Risen Star Stakes horse race at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, Saturday, Feb 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Hodges Photography, Lou Hodges, Jr.)

  • Done Talking- 50/1

    Done Talking is ridden on the track during the morning exercise session in preparation for the 138th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 1, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

  • Sabercat- 30/1

    Sabercat wins the Delta Downs Jackpot Grade III, in Vinton, La Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Coady Photography)

  • I'll Have Another- 12/1

    Kentucky Derby hopeful I'll Have Another gallops at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Monday, April 30, 2012, under exercise rider Johnny Garcia. The 138th running of the Kentucky Derby is Saturday, May 5.(AP Photo/Garry Jones)

  • Liason- 40/1

    Jockey Martin Garcia rides Kentucky Derby hopeful Liaison during a morning workout at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Monday, April 30, 2012. The Kentucky Derby horse race is scheduled for Saturday, May 5. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

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