BALTIMORE — With an opportunity gone in the Kentucky Derby, Saturday’s Preakness Stakes was another chance for Bodemeister to prove he could be one of the all-time greats. All he had to do, trainer Bob Baffert said, was run “his race.”
He did. But he still fell short, passed in the final few yards — again — by I’ll Have Another as Bodemeister’s Triple Crown season came to an end with another second-place finish.
Baffert thought, with Bodemeister leading around every turn, that this was winnable.
“The fractions were more reasonable,” Baffert said. “So turning for home, I really thought he was going to do it. It just got a little late there at the end, and the winner’s a good horse. It was a good horse race. I really can’t complain. We didn’t win it, but my horse ran his race.”
Baffert noted earlier last week that if I’ll Have Another wins the Preakness, he might hop on a bus and get off the Triple Crown trail. That will indeed be the case as Bodemeister will skip the Belmont Stakes.
Unlike the Derby, when Bodemeister was cruising too fast to keep up that pace, the Preakness seemed like the perfect set-up at 1 3/16 miles. Jockey Mike Smith thought he had it.
“I thought I put him away, but [I’ll Have Another] reached up and got us with three strides,” Smith said. “Two great horses and I give them all the credit for what they did.”
Rosario rides through anguish
Jockey Joel Rosario had five mounts Saturday at Pimlico Race Course, but he had to compete with a heavy heart. NBC reported Saturday afternoon that Rosario’s brother, a police officer in the Dominican Republic, was killed in a motorcycle accident earlier in the day.
Rosario, who rode Creative Cause to a third-place finish in the Preakness, did not speak to reporters afterward. Trainer Mike Harrington was proud of his horse and his rider.
“[Creative Cause] always brings his best race. He just couldnt outrun those horses,” Harrington said. “What can you do? Youve got to try to win the race. Joel Rosario tried to win the race. I have no regrets.”
Went the Day Well ‘flat’
The betting public seemed to believe four horses had a legitimate chance of winning the Preakness, and that proved smart in that I’ll Have Another, Bodemeister and Creative Cause finished first, second and third.
But Went the Day Well didn’t have it Saturday and wound up 10th. He was never a threat.
“No excuses,” trainer Graham Motion said. “[Jockey Johnny Velazquez] said he ran out of horse down the backside. He was right with the winner and he really had no excuse. Just ran flat.”