Kentucky Derby 2012: Close Odds and Posts Benefit Bodemeister and Union Rags

Trae ThompsonSenior Analyst IMay 5, 2012

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 03:  Union Rags trains on the track in preparation for the 138th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 3, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Union Rags and Bodemeister are your top favorites right now for today's Kentucky Derby.

They'll also be placed right next to each other.

Bob Baffert's horse, Bodemeister, has drawn the No. 6 post, while Union Rags will be close by in the No. 4 gate at Churchill Downs. The odds for both aren't separated by much either, with Union Rags at 9-2, followed by Bodemeister (7-1).

Mike Battaglia, the longtime Kentucky Derby oddsmaker, told Scripps Howard news service that the last time two favorites were this close came back in 2007 with Street Sense and Curlin. Battaglia has been setting odds for the Derby since 1974.

I wouldn't be one to bet on either in just a straight up bet, since you're not going to win much, but you could put in one of the favorites into a trifecta or exacta.

What intrigues me about their positions is that I love seeing two horses go head-to-head from the start. One could get canceled out, another could get lost in the pack or maybe they push through and manage it. But we won't know until the race happens.

This is a talented collection of horses that will be competing, so either horse is going to have to definitely earn the victory. For Union Rags, there's a mental hurdle to deal with too, after losing two of his last three starts.

"I think everyone knows he's a good horse," trainer Michael Matz, who rode Barbaro in the 2006 Kentucky Derby, told the Lexington Herald-Leader. "The two races that he lost, they obviously know there was a problem, whether he got shuffled wide or get hemmed in."

Now Union Rags could reverse course today.

But it's going to come against a ton of talent, and right next to the other favorite in today's race.