BALTIMORE | There was never the thrill of victory for Bob Baffert as Bodemeister led the Kentucky Derby. His horse was just going too fast.
“I thought it was going to be tough to overcome,” he said.
It was different for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes.
“The fractions were more reasonable today. So turning for him I really thought he was going to do it,” Baffert admitted. “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.
The result another close, second-place finish behind I’ll Have Another and more pain for Baffert with the horse named after his 7-year-old son. And while Bodemeister very likely won’t go on to the Belmont Stakes on June 9, he’s not leaving the Triple Crown trail in any disgrace.
“The winner’s a good horse. He’ll get the respect now that he deserves,” Baffert said. “I’m proud that, as a trainer, my horse showed up and he ran his race and he got beat. That’s all you can ask for.”
Those connected with I’ll Have Another had plenty of praise, too.
“We wanted to be a little bit closer to Bodemeister this time,” jockey Mario Gutierrez said. “He’s an unbelievable horse; he run a huge race.”
It took until just about the wire for I’ll Have Another to finally pass the Preakness favorite.
“We had some ground to make up and the other horse was not stopping,” I’ll Have Another owner Paul Reddam said. “He ran a very brave, gigantic race.”