Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Despite Taking 2nd, Baffert Leaves Happy Hall of Fame Trainer's Bodemeister 'Showed What a Great Horse He Is'

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Despite Taking 2nd, Baffert Leaves Happy Hall of Fame Trainer's Bodemeister 'Showed What a Great Horse He Is'

Article excerpt

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - After favored Bodemeister faded late and finished second on Saturday in the 138th Kentucky Derby, Bob Baffert attempted to put a positive spin on what had been another frustrating afternoon at Churchill Downs for the Hall of Fame trainer. "Usually when I run second I'm upset," said Baffert. "But he showed what a great horse he is. He ran his heart out... He came up a little tired at the end, but you know what, that's the way he wanted to run."

Bodemeister, the 4-1 favorite, was first out of the gate and led the 20-horse field all the way around the track in the mile and a quarter race until being passed down the stretch by I'll Have Another.

"We got beat. You get beat," said Baffert, who has won three Kentucky Derbys but none since War Emblem went wire to wire in 2002. "But he showed up and that's all a trainer can ask for is that his horse shows up on the big days.

"That's horse racing. The reason I didn't get pumped up all week is that in a 20-horse Kentucky Derby anything can happen. He ran his race and that's all you can ask for. That's the only time I've run second where I've been happy because he ran his race."'

Jockey Mike Smith followed Baffert's lead in trying to downplay the disappointment of losing the Derby with the finish line in sight.

"He didn't finish first, but he's still the winner," said Smith. "He's such a free-running horse that I could take that away from him. At the top of the stretch, I really thought we had it, but I knew we were in trouble when I saw Doug's (O'Neil's) horse coming."

Since his namesake entry Hansen is a dazzling white colt, Dr. Kendall Hansen had white squeeze toys made in his honor that he began to hand out last fall during the Breeder's Cup, which also was contested at Churchill Downs.

For years now, Hansen said he has had brown horse squeeze toys for patients to squeeze during treatments at his pain clinic in Crestview Hills, Ky., so it only made sense to order a large shipment of white ones.

"We're going to throw them around, trying to hit people in the head," he joked after Wednesday's Derby Draw. …

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