I'll Have Another came from the middle of the pack and ran down pace-setter Bodemeister in the final furlong to win the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday evening.
Heavy rain fell on Churchill Downs overnight, leaving the the track sloppy in the morning and preventing any possible works of the Derby’s 20 contestants.
But when Derby time came, it was already back to fast, and fast they went today.
At the start jockey Mike Smith was determined to claim the lead and took Bodemeister to just that in front of the expected pace-setter Trinniberg, taking the first call at a blazing time of :22.32.
As they rounded the first turn and got into the backstretch Bodemeister was absolutely the leader in front of Trinniberg by a couple of lengths with Hansen—who was a handful to control early—and Daddy Long Legs trailing.
I'll Have Another was running easily on seventh place.
Bodemeister started opening on the lead as he rounded the far turn and entered the home stretch in front by five lengths over Hansen, who was second, and I'll Have Another entered third on the middle of the track but coming fast.
Bodemeister still led at the final furlong, but was tiring after running the fastest first five splits on Derby history, and I'll Have Another went past him to take the win.
Bodemeister finished a game second, holding on over fast-closing Dullahan in third; Went the Day Well finished strong for fourth and Creative Cause took fifth.
I'll Have Another becomes the first horse ever to win from post 19, and it's the first victory for jockey Mario Gutierrez in his first Derby ride.
Favorite Union Rags was once again boxed in traffic during the run on the final turn and never got to stretch his legs and make a run in the stretch.
Gemologist was running fourth early on and also never had anything for the leaders in the stretch.
A great run by I'll Have Another, but you have to admire Bodemeister's effort who went for it all from the start and fell just half-a-furlong short.
After setting such historic fractions, he still held on gamely for second. Consider that Take Charge Indy and Daddy Long Legs ran behind him on the inside and they finished in the last two spots.
But the day belongs to I'll Have Another, his owner J. Paul Reddam, his trainer Doug O'Neill and his jockey Mario Gutierrez. They are now on the Triple Crown path and will have the fan support behind them.
I'll Have Another has been impressive this year as he is a perfect three-for-three now and will be fresh coming to the Preakness.
Let's now begin the Triple Crown possibilities talk and see if I'll Have Another becomes the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. He is certainly to have some strong competition in two weeks.
The next stop, of course, will be the 137th Preakness Stakes from Pimlico on May 19.
Kentucky Derby | Grade I | Purse: $2 Million | Distance: 10 Furlongs | Track: Fast
|19||I'll Have Another||Mario Gutierrez||$32.60||$13.80||$9.00|
Also ran: 13 - Went the Day Well , 8 - Creative Cause , 20 - Liaison , 4 - Union Rags , 7 - Rousing Sermon , 14 - Hansen , 10 - Daddy Nose Best , 2 - Optimizer , 11 - Alpha , 16 - El Padrino , 17 - Done Talking , 18 - Sabercat , 15 - Gemologist , 9 - Trinniberg , 12 - Prospective , 3 - Take Charge Indy , 1 - Daddy Long Legs
Scratched horses: My Adonis (Also-Eligible)
Winning Owner: Reddam Racing LLC
Winning Trainer: Doug O'Neill
Fractions: :22.32, 45.39, 1:09.80, 1:35.19
Final Time: 2:01.83