1. I’ll Have Another – There is no question about it, I’ll Have Another was a deserving winner of this race. The ride Mario Gutierrez gave him was nothing short of brilliant. How he did it was simple…he didn’t get cute. He broke from the 19, got him as far over as he could before the first turn, placed him perfect, kept him out of traffic, and let the horse to the work when he needed to do it. The kid really did an incredible job, but it still comes down to the horse when they hit the stretch, and I’ll Have Another showed that he is for real. The horse has now won three tough races in a row, and will have a legit chance of the triple crown. The tests will only get harder from here on out, but I do believe he’s our best chance since Big Brown in 2008.
2. Bodemeister - What can I say that hasn’t already been said? Bodemeister ran one of the most incredible races I’ve ever seen. When the opening quarter and half mile times came up, I had already wrote him off. When the six furlong time came up, I turned to my fellow Racing Dude and said, “He’s going to finish last.” Still, he stayed on and at one point looked to have the Derby won. It’s too bad he hit the wall 100 yards from the wire, he ran a winning race. Hopefully he’ll learn to ration that speed just a bit better. If he does, he will be unbeatable. His connections as well as his fans should be so proud of him. I know I am! It’s scary to think how good this horse might become. Remember: The Derby was only his fifth lifetime race. Freak in the making…it’s very possible he will be the favorite in the Preakness if he runs.
3. Dullahan - Dale Romans and Dullahan really proved me wrong. I thought Dullahan wouldn’t run a step on the dirt, but he ran great. He got a very good trip, and made the most of it finishing a fast closing third, almost catching Bodemeister in the final strides. So now Romans has a horse he can do anything with. Dullahan has now proven he can run on any surface, so it should be a fun summer for him. There is no word on when he’ll run next, although I think he’s going to be one of the favorites to win the Belmont if they go that route. Classy horse!
4. Went the Day Well – I have to give it up to trainer Graham Motion. In back to back years he has gotten a horse that has had very little to no dirt form ready to roll and run great in America’s biggest race. After watching the race several times now, Went the Day Well may have run the best race. His trip was horrible, and he was fanned out seven wide on the final turn. Still, he closed with a flurry to finish fourth. If you could have somehow flip-flopped I’ll Have Another and Went the Day Well’s trips, we might be talking about Motion, Irwin, and Velazquez winning the Kentucky Derby for the second straight year. Hopefully this one can stay healthy. He’s lightly raced and has to be taken very seriously from here on out.
5. Creative Cause – You can’t be disappointed with how he ran, as he was right in the mix throughout the stretch. He was caught out pretty wide on the final turn, and was just out-kicked by a few lengths by the top four. I definitely think he’s going to make some noise the rest of the year.
6. Liaison – This one was a pleasant surprise to me. I gave Liaison no chance, but he actually ran a pretty solid race to finish sixth, and he tried hard all the way to the wire. I think he can win a few races from here on out depending on where Baffert spots him. Maybe not good enough to win a race like the Preakness, but grades 2′s or 3′s might be right up his ally.
7. Union Rags – BRUTAL TRIP! He got what I like to call the “Curlin” trip. Broke slow, was pinched badly, shuffled back, and never had an inch of running room until it was way to late. I thought him finishing 7th was actually pretty decent considering what he had to go though. I look him to run a big race next time out. Whether that race will be in the Preakness or not is unclear at this time. If he does enter, he’ll have a shot at winning.
8. Rousing Sermon – Another honest effort from a horse that gives you his best every time. You can’t help but admire this one, as he’s extremely consistent and classy. Hopefully they’ll give him a decent class drop so he can get himself a win. He deserves that much.
9. Hansen – His connections are just delusional about how far this horse can run. To be honest he finished higher than I thought he would, which proves to me that he is a fighter. They really need to keep him at races no longer than one and one-sixteenth mile, although I’m already hearing that he’s going on to the Preakness. Very good horse, just don’t think he can get the distance.
10. Daddy Nose Best – He got a very solid trip, just didn’t run when he was asked. I felt this horse could get the distance easily, so I’m more than a little surprised by this result. Maybe he just didn’t fire on Saturday. He probably deserves another chance against this kind of company again before totally giving up.
11. Optimizer – The horse that most thought shouldn’t be in the race did not embarrass himself, and did slowly gain throughout the stretch. He got a decent rail trip, but never did have free room to run. The Preakness is a total waste of time for him in my opinion, but you know that he’ll most liking be running in it with Lukas as his trainer. If he’s still doing well by Belmont day he could make a little noise though.
12. Alpha – It was a poor start for him as he broke awkwardly, and had to come six wide on the turn. Even with the poor finish, I wouldn’t totally count him out. He should improve off this effort next time out. Especially considering he wasn’t in the absolute best of health coming in. Wouldn’t give up on him…
13. El Padrino - I was once so high on this horse, but he’s fading big time. Maybe the slop is what moves him forward, and on a dry surface he doesn’t match up with this crowd. I’d say the Preakness or Belmont is unlikely at this point, so look for him later in the season.
14. Done Talking – Just out-classed. He didn’t have too bad of a trip considering the twenty horse field. He will probably be fine moving forward, just needs to drop in class some.
15. Sabercat - This horse had a decent trip, but I just don’t think he’s in this class. Asmussen will spot him smartly from this point out I believe, so look for him in smaller grade 2 or 3 races.
16. Gemologist - His total no-show is a question mark. Maybe he was still a little green and not ready for the big time event. He’s being sent for a sort break at WinStar Farm as of now. I don’t think we’ll see him in the Preakness or Belmont. Look for a summer return at Belmont of Saratoga.
17. Trinniberg - Cheap speed, but still couldn’t keep up with Bodemeister. Hopefully he comes out of the race healthy and they will spot him where he belongs: One mile or less.
18. Prospective – The horse was just out-classed against this bunch. I think he prefers the dirt surface, but should be pointed towards lower graded stakes races from here on out. Maybe the Iowa or Ohio Derby.
19. Take Charge Indy – Not much to explain here, the horse was injured, and therefore stopped running. He’s pointed towards a fall return to the races.
20. Daddy Long Legs – He’s a good horse on turf or synthetic, but he’s doesn’t care for the dirt. Look for him to go back home and have a solid year, and perhaps he’ll return to the United States this fall at Santa Anita for some sort of turf race at the Breeders Cup.