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Part Two From Thoroughbred Contenders -- Why I Didn't Win the Kentucky Derby But How About Me in the Preakness Stakes?
Four of the first five finishers in the 2012 Kentucky Derby will compete again in the May 19 Preakness Stakes.
Blue Grass Stakes winner Dullahan, who went third in the Derby in a closing rush, will skip the Pimlico Race Course event, as will 2011 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Champion Hansen. Hansen faded to ninth in the Derby and prior to that went second in the Blue Grass.
Before we allow the Thoroughbred contenders to speak again for themselves on how they performed in the Run for the Roses and explain why they didn't cross the wire first, let's hear from the surprise winner, I'll Have Another.
(Note: The numbers next to the Thoroughbred's name reflect his racing record -- starts: wins, seconds, thirds -- entering the Kentucky Derby.)
I'll Have Another: (5: 3-1-0) (Derby 1st): "Wow! I did win! That was so exciting! I ran like lightning, and my guy (jockey Mario Gutierrez) was so overwhelmed to win the Kentucky Derby in his first start that he was crying, and the crowd was nuts! Everyone was shouting 'I'll Have Another', but I think they maybe were talking about beverages, or something. Anyway, my name was all over Churchill Downs, and even Lava Man, my famous pony horse leader, was out of his mind, prancing with excitement. I mean, I want to thank everyhorse, especially Lavy, and everybody who helped train me and take care of me and fed me and loved me so I could get to this moment. And, yes, thank you, God, too! Now, on to the Preakness, where I think I have a good chance for another win!"
(Lava Man is Thoroughbred history's winningest former claimer. Trainer Doug O'Neill purchased Lava Man and conditioned him to a record-tying three straight Hollywood Gold Cup wins (2005-2007). The gelding also victored in the Santa Anita Handicap and the Pacific Class Stakes, both grade ones, in 2006, along with his Gold Cup triumph, establishing him as the only Thoroughbred ever to score in those three events in a single year. From 47 starts, Lava Man won 17 races and earned $5,268,706.)
(Lava Man must be giving I'll Have Another some stunning tips on how to win as his pony horse companion. "Pony horse" is the term used for the horses who accompany Thoroughbred racers to the starting gate.)
Bodemeister (4: 2-2-0) (Derby 2nd): "Whoa, I thought I had that race, but, you know, thinking back, I did chase the speed, Trinniberg, a long time early. I was a little tired in the lane. Give I'll Have Another credit. He sneaked up on me at the last furlong, and I was too gassed to answer. But the Preakness is shorter, don't forget. I'll be ready."
Dullahan (8: 2-2-2) (Derby 3rd): "I started too slow -- so many horses! -- and I kicked a bit late. I'm tired, so I'm skipping the Preakness."
Went the Day Well (5: 2-2-0) (Derby 4th): "Hey, the day went well. Lots of traffic to get through to head the leaders! I'm in the Preakness with a good chance in a less crowded field."
Creative Cause (8: 4-2-2) (Derby 5th): "Charging in the final eighth, I had too much mud in my face, but I'll be back for the Preakness where I can see better."
Liaison (7: 3-0-1) (Derby 6th): "What a crowded, bumpy run! I came out okay, but I'm staying out of the Preakness. Fourteen are entered, another crowd..."
Union Rags (6: 4-1-1) (Derby 7th): "My other races were a breeze compared to this. They can do the Preakness without me."
Rousing Sermon (9: 2-2-4) (Derby 8th): "I belonged in the Kentucky Derby. I really did. I was in the top three in eight of my nine starts. That's not hay! But my connections aren't sending me to the Preakness. Darn!"
Hansen (6: 4-2-0) (Derby 9th): "Boy, there were a lot of horses over to my left as I left from Gate 14, and I couldn't spot my favorite guy, Alpha. You know, he's that Godolphin dude. I really liked him, and I was in close contention in third, but I kept looking around for him and, well, I lost my concentration...so, I guess I'm not going to the Preakness."
Daddy Nose Best (10: 4-2-1) (Derby 10th): "My nose was full of mud! I liked the sunshine at the Sunland Derby better! Maybe the Preakness will be dry!"
Optimizer (9: 1-2-1) (Derby 11th): "What a bump-a-thon! Maybe the Preakness will be easier. I know it's shorter."
Alpha (6: 3-2-0) (Derby 12th): "The Wood Memorial was really tough, losing to Gemologist in that close finish, and that was my prep for the Kentucky Derby that my stable, Godolphin Racing, wants so much to win here in America. Guess I let them down a bit in the Wood, and, well, my spirits were kind of low in the Derby, and I couldn't see much -- so many horses -- and, well, I guess I'm making excuses, but, you know, my connections were hoping and counting on me in the Derby, and...sigh...No Preakness."
El Padrino (6: 3-1-1) (Derby 13th): "I felt like I didn't belong in the Kentucky Derby, running second for Mr. Pletcher to his star, Gemologist, and then I went and embarrassed Gem by finishing three places ahead of him. I'll gladly skip the Preakness."
Done Talking (7: 3-0-2) (Derby 14th): "I won't be talking at the Preakness, either..."
Sabercat (8: 3-0-2) (Derby 15th): "I'll never get any respect now. After that Derby finish I'm not even entered in the Preakness."
Gemologist (5: 5-0-0) (Derby 16th): "I was unbeaten and thought I had nerves of steel, but that Derby crowd was rough! I'll rest and rethink my legacy."
Trinniberg (7: 3-2-0) (Derby 17th): "You knew my job wasn't to win, didn't you, in that long a race? I was there to race my eyeballs out early on and give everyone in the crowd a heart attack and every horse in the field a chase thrill. Bodemeister wore himself out trying to out duel me. Ha! What's a Preakness?"
Prospective (8: 4-2-0) (Derby 18th): "I won half my races before the Kentucky Derby, but this was a long, crowded affair, and I didn't like the mud in my face. Better prospects than the Preakness are ahead for me."
Take Charge Indy (6: 2-2-0) (Derby 19th): "I'm so sore...And I was in charge, right there in the fourth spot before the final turn, ready to rumble with my rail-riding jockey, Calvin Borel. I mean, we were there! We had the perfect position! Then something moved inside my left front ankle, and I was done, out of contention. X-ray said I had a bone chip, and I was pointed to surgery instead of the Preakness. The breaks of horse racing..."
Daddy Longs Legs (5: 3-0-0) (Derby 20th): "Even though I'm already a million-dollar winner and came to the Kentucky Derby with three wins, I just didn't like the crowd, and I hung back...I...wasn't into it. After scoring so big in Dubai, I guess I disappointed my big-name trainer, Aidan O'Brien. He didn't keep me in America, and I won't run in the Preakness. I'm back in Ireland."
New Shooters for Preakness Stakes
With just six starters from the Kentucky Derby entered for the Preakness Stakes, the field for the second jewel of the American Triple Crown at Pimlico Race Course quickly began to fill up with new shooters.
In alphbetical order, six of the best prospects to enter and join the six repeaters from the Derby are:
Cozzetti = a gray/roan whose maternal grandsire is Lemon Drop Kid, 1999 Belmont Stakes winner.
Guyana Star Dweej = the lowest achiever, who enters from a second place finish in an allowance optional claiming race at Belmont Park April 27 for trainer Doodnauth Shivmangal.
Pretension = trainer Christopher Grove's Pimlico winner in the Canonero II Stakes May 5.
Teeth of the Dog = a third place finisher for trainer Michael Matz in the Wood Memorial.
Tiger Walk = Kent Desormeaux will ride trainer Ignacio Correas's Wood Memorial entry who finished fourth for Sagamore Farm.
Zetterholm = Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. (2008's Big Brown) won the Patsyprospect Stakes April 4 with him at Aqueduct.
Limited Field for Preakness Stakes
The field for the Preakness Stakes is governed for 14 entries.
The first seven spots are taken by top graded stakes earners. In the next four positions are top open stakes winners. The last three entries come in order from contenders with top total earnings.
- Part One Kentucky Derby Thoughts and Tips From the Thoroughbred Contenders
Get some tips and thoughts on the 138th Kentucky Derby straight from the horses' mouths!