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Preakness Stakes: Bodemeister, I'll Have Another, Creative Cause Among Horses Coming Off Derby

AP  |  By Posted: Updated: 05/19/2012 11:56 am

Preakness Stakes Bodemeister
Trainer Bob Baffert, center, is surrounded by reporters after Bodemeister was installed as the favorite breaking from the No. 7 post position for the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Wednesday, May 16, 2012.

BALTIMORE -- Judging by his appetite and appearance, Bodemeister has rebounded nicely from his vigorous trip in the Kentucky Derby and is ready to shine at the Preakness.

Bodemeister finished second in the Derby and has been installed the favorite in Saturday's second jewel of the Triple Crown.

"I've had some horses, they run (and then) they don't eat for a few days and they sulk in the stall or whatever," Bodemeister trainer Bob Baffert said. "But he's a pretty tough horse. He just bounced out of it really well. If you watch their weight over their rumps, that's where they usually lose it if they can't handle what you're giving them. He filled out nice and his hair looks good. He looks good."

So, Baffert's got nothing to worry about, right?

Uh, not exactly. Because not even a Hall of Fame trainer can predict how a horse will react when thrust into a big race for the second time in 15 days.

"If the gate comes open and they feel like running, they run," he said. "If they don't feel like it, they don't run."

Baffert speaks from experience. In 2009, he brought Derby runner-up Pioneerof the Nile to Pimlico Race Course for the Preakness. The horse went off as the second favorite and finished 11th in a field of 13.

"I thought he would run huge and he never ran a jump," Baffert said. "They're doing great, but you're still waiting for that gate to come open to see what they're going to do."

Baffert has won the Preakness five times. Doug O'Neill, trainer of Derby winner I'll Have Another, never even visited Baltimore before last week.

The edge in experience goes to Baffert, but the most important factor in determining the winner of a race isn't necessarily the manner in which a horse is groomed, exercised or saddled.

Most times, the best horse wins – even if the trainer is a Preakness first-timer.

"The cream always rises to the top," Baffert said. "The Kentucky Derby winner is a very good horse and he's going to be tough to beat."

Only six of the 20 horses that ran at Churchill Downs came to Baltimore for the Preakness. Mike Harrington, trainer of Creative Cause, expects his horse to bounce back from a disappointing fifth-place finish – the first time in nine career races the gray colt finished out of the money.

"He's getting more mature with every race he runs," Harrington said. "He's doing well. He's holding up good. I was talking to somebody this morning and I said it will be interesting to see how many of these are still standing after the Belmont."

Went the Day Well finished fourth in the Derby, and trainer Graham Motion can only hope his horse has enough left to run better in the Preakness.

"Went the Day Well looks like he's doing great," Motion said. "But honestly, I don't know how he's going to run Saturday. He's given me every indication that he's doing super, but I don't think we can tell what the Derby has taken out of them until we get there."

There are five new shooters set to go, all at odds ranging from 15- to 30-1.

One of them is Tiger Walk, who changed jockeys after Kent Desormeaux failed a Breathalyzer test at Belmont Park in New York on Friday. Ramon Dominguez will now ride the 30-1 long shot owned by Under Armour founder Kevin Plank.

"It was a team decision," trainer Ignacio Correas said. "Ramon is a great rider. We're happy to have him."

Other notable new shooters include Teeth of the Dog (15-1), who was third in the Wood Memorial for trainer Michael Matz and Cozzetti (30-1), trained by Dale Romans, who won last year's Preakness with Shackleford.

___

The field, from the rail out: Tiger Walk (Kent Desormeaux, 30-1); Teeth of the Dog (Joe Bravo, 15-1); Pretension (Javier Santiago, 30-1); Zetterholm (Junior Alvarado, 20-1); Went the Day Well (John Velazquez, 6-1); Creative Cause (Joel Rosario, 6-1); Bodemeister (Mike Smith, 8-5); Daddy Nose Best (Julien Leparoux, 12-1); I'll Have Another (Mario Gutierrez, 5-2); Optimizer (Corey Nakatani, 30-1); and Cozzetti (Jose Lezcano, 30-1).

Loading Slideshow...
  • Bodemeister (8-5)

    Exercise rider George Alvarez takes Kentucky Derby entrant Bodemeister for a workout at Churchill Downs Wednesday, May 2, 2012, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • I'll Have Another (5-2)

    Jockey Mario Gutierrez rides I'll Have Another to victory in the 138th Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 5, 2012, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Creative Cause (6-1)

    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)

  • Went The Day Well (6-1)

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

  • Daddy Nose Best (12-1)

    Assistant trainer Scott Blaisi brings Preakness Stakes horse race hopeful Daddy Nose Best off the van upon the colt's arrival at Pimlico racetrack, Wednesday, May 16, 2012, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)

  • Teeth of the Dog (15-1)

    The post positions for the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course are displayed in Baltimore, Wednesday, May 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)

  • Zetterholm (20-1)

    Exercise rider Mario Madrid rides Preakness hopeful Zetterholm during a morning workout at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Thursday, May 17, 2012. The Preakness Stakes horse race takes place May 19. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

  • Optimizer (30-1)

    Exercise rider Joel Cano takes Optimizer for a workout at Churchill Downs Thursday, May 3, 2012, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Tiger Walk ( 30-1)

    In this April 27, 2012 photo, Under Armour founder Kevin Plank, left, stands with Preakness Stakes entrant Tiger Walk and exercise rider Dimitri Dimitropoulos at Sagamore Farm in Glyndon, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

  • Pretention (30-1)

    In this April 27, 2012 photo, exercise rider Dimitri Dimitropoulos, left, guides Preakness Stakes entrant Tiger Walk to a news conference outside of a barn as Under Armour founder Kevin Plank, right, looks on at Sagamore Farm in Glyndon, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

  • Cozzetti (30-1)

    Photographers greet Preakness Stakes hopeful Cozzetti after he steps off the van at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md., Wednesday afternoon, May 16, 2012. While his top 3-year-old Dullahan is sitting out the Preakness, trainer Dale Romans is sending out this gray colt with hopes of perhaps sneaking out of PImlico with another win. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)

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Filed by Chris Greenberg  |