Bodemeister Ready After Strong Final Work

Bodemeister Ready After Strong Final Work
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Bodemeister works 4/29/2012 at Churchill Downs.
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Arkansas Derby (gr. I) winner Bodemeister   worked five furlongs in a strong :59.48 on a muddy Churchill Downs track April 29.

With Martin Garcia in the irons, the lightly raced son of Empire Maker galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.13 in his final prep for the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

"I’m glad I got the work in," said trainer Bob Baffert. "I was a bit leery last night with all the rain and afraid about how the track would be. It turned out the track was in perfect shape. He got a hold of it; it was nice and firm. I was glad I didn’t work him yesterday when the track was dry and loose; I worry about stuff like that."

Bodemeister is owned by Ahmed Zayat's Zayat Stables. A minority interest in the colt was purchased recently by Mike and Tiffany Moreno of Southern Equine Stable.

Though Bodemeister has only four lifetime starts heading into the Derby and did not race as a 2-year-old, Baffert said he believes the colt is improving at the right time.

"He is still learning but the right timing has worked out with him," Baffert said.

Bodemeister broke his maiden at second asking by 9 1/4 lengths in a one-mile contest at Santa Anita Park Feb. 11. He next finished second in the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) behind Creative Cause  , then turned in a smashing near wire-to-wire performance in the April 14 Arkansas Derby, which he won by 9 1/2 lengths. The colt ran the opening half mile of the Arkansas Derby in :46 2/5 and six furlongs in 1:11 1/5. The final time was 1:48 3/5.

The California-based trainer admitted he is taking much more in stride since suffering a heart attack prior to the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) in late March.

"With 20 horses, it is a crapshoot anyway. All I can do...I get them ready and put a saddle on them and after that it is out of my hands."

Bodemeister will be ridden in the Kentucky Derby by Mike Smith, who was also aboard him in the Arkansas Derby. For the work, however, Garcia—who will be riding the Baffter-trained Liaison   in the Kentucky Derby—was in the saddle.

Garcia said Bodemeister, who worked with Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) contender Jemima's Pearl, was 100%.

"(Jemima’s Pearl) tried to come right next to him, and he took off," he said.

Baffert has Liaison scheduled to work April 30.

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