BALTIMORE - As the Kentucky Derby preps played out through the winter and spring, it seemed clear that the Breeders' Cup Juvenile was a strong race that would have major impact on the first Saturday in May. Nine of the 13 Juvenile horses had won stakes in 2012.
Then, they ran the Derby and only one horse from the Juvenile even hit the board. Dullahan was third. The other eight who ran finished fifth, seventh, ninth, 11th, 12th, 18th, 19th and 20th.
The first, second and fourth Derby finishers were late developers who were nowhere near Churchill Downs on Nov. 5, 2011.
When they drew post positions for Saturday's Preakness Wednesday evening, only two horses from the Juvenile were left in the 11-horse field - Creative Cause, third in the Juvenile, fifth in the Derby; and Optimizer, eighth in the Juvenile, 11th in the Derby.
It is true the Dullahan (fourth in the Juvenile) and Union Rags (second in the Juvenile, seventh in the Derby) are being pointed for the Belmont Stakes. Still, it is amazing what has happened to what looked like such a good race.
The Preakness is about Derby winner I'll Have Another and runner-up Bodemeister, horses that drew posts 9 and 7, respectively. Unlike the Derby, where post positions really do matter, they are barely relevant in the Preakness, which has nine fewer horses and just one starting gate, a gate that is fully on the course and not in a chute that leads to the course.
Bodemeister was installed as the 8-5 morning-line favorite and almost certainly will be on the lead again. I'll Have Another drew well to be outside the speed, just as he was in the Derby when he started from post 19.
"I love the fact that we're outside Bodemeister," said Doug O'Neill, I'll Have Another's trainer. "We've just got to see what he's doing. We're obviously going to have to show a little bit more speed out of the gate."