Photo: The Kentucky Derby
I’ll Have Another, purchased for $35,000 last year, proved to be worth infinitely more than that in staging a dramatic rally to overtake Bodemeister by 1½ lengths Saturday in the 138th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.The colt, named for owner J. Paul Reddam’s typical response when his wife puts out cookies, will be toasted as the first 3-year-old to prevail after breaking from far outside from post 19 in a full field of 20.
I’ll Have Another was masterfully ridden by Mario Gutierrez, 25, of Veracruz, Mexico. He was Canada’s leading apprentice rider before coming to the USA in 2005 in search of a big horse.
He had one in his first Derby.
Guttierez, fighting to catch his breath and manage his emotions, said of his mount, “He’s an amazing horse. I’m sorry, but he’s just amazing.”
So is Bodemeister. He tore through the five swiftest fractions in the history of the “Run for the Roses” before all the effort caught up to him in the final strides to deny his trainer, Bob Baffert, a fourth Derby triumph. That would have placed him in a tie for second all time among trainers.
“The way he ran, I don’t have any complaints other than he did not win,” said Baffert, 59, who suffered a heart attack March 26 in Dubai while preparing a horse to compete there. “Usually I’m upset, but he showed the brilliance he has.”
His exhausted Arkansas Derby champ held off late-running Dullahan by a neck. Dullahan was attempting to give his trainer, Dale Romans, his first Derby victory. Romans grew up three miles from Churchill Downs.
But the hot afternoon belonged to I’ll Have Another, who earned his fourth victory in six starts and extended his perfection this year to 3-for-3 for ecstatic trainer Doug O’Neill.
“I can’t explain how excited I am,” O’Neill said. “I’m so jazzed.”
I’ll Have Another went off at 15-1 and paid $32.60, $13.80 and $9. Bodemeister paid $6.20 and $5.60 and Dullahan $7.20.
The 1¼-mile opening leg of the Triple Crown drew a record 165,307 fans, surpassing the mark of 164,858 set last year.
The next leg in the Triple Crown will be held May 19 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. The third leg, the Belmont Stakes, will be run June 9.
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