|VA-BRED BODEMEISTER (Danny Johnston/AP Photo)|
Veteran jockey Mike Smith will ride. Smith won the Derby on 50-1 shot Giacomo in 2005.
''If he gets away well, like I've been saying all along, if he's given the opportunity, he's going to run extremely well,'' said Smith.
While being bet down to the favorite hasn’t produced many Derby winners of late, Bodemeister also faces an historic hurdle. No horse since Apollo in 1882 has won the Derby without racing as a two-year-old.
Bodemeister earned the nod from Churchill downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia based on his post position and his impressive 9 1/2 length win in the Arkansas Derby. Many felt Bedemiester’s win in Little Rock was the most dominating performance of the Derby prep races.
Union Rags (No.4 post) was a close second choice at 9-2 in a full field of 20 horses. He is trained by Michael Matz, who won the Derby in 2006 with Barbaro.
Wood Memorial winner Gemologist was the third choice at 6-1 and drew the No. 15 post.
Blue Grass winner Dullahan was the 8-1 fourth choice. He got the No. 5 post, drawing the loudest cheers from his connections.
Two California horses, Creative Cause and Santa Anita Derby winner I'll Have Another, were listed at 12-1.
Hansen, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner, and Daddy Long Legs have the most graded stakes earnings in the field. Hansen leads the list with more than $1.5 million, while Daddy Long Legs has $1.2 million.
If all 20 horses start, the $2,219,600 purse would be the richest since 2005, when the Derby first became a guaranteed $2 million event. The winner earns $1,459,600. Post time is 6:24 p.m. EDT.
|SEA HERO (Tessa Pullen)|