Kentucky Derby (G1) runner-up Bodemeister made his first visit to the main track at Pimlico on Thursday, galloping 1 ½ miles under exercise rider George Alvarez.
“He was not looking around. He was all business out there,” Alvarez said of the colt who was shipped to Pimlico on Wednesday from Churchill Downs.
Owned by Zayat Stables and Michel and Tiffany Moreno, Bodemeister drew post position No. 7 and was installed as the 8-5 morning line favorite in the Preakness field of 11.
“He drew well,” five-time Preakness winning trainer Bob Baffert said of Bodemeister. “I didn’t want to be inside.”
Baffert left Louisville the day after Bodemeister’s Derby run and returned to Churchill Downs on Monday to confirm the colt’s status for the Preakness. He liked what he saw Monday and he liked what he saw Thursdday morning at Pimlico.
“His first day here went well. It looks like he took to the track nicely,” Baffert said. “He was pretty cool out there. I am not seeing anything to make me think anything different about him. He bounced right out of the Derby. His weight has held. He can handle it.”
Mike Smith has the return call on Bodemeister.
“I was proud of him,” Baffert said. “He ran his race. When he cut the corner and opened up at the head of the stretch, I thought ‘maybe,’ but I could see at the eighth pole he was getting tired. He got beat a length and a half and held on for second. That was not disappointing. It was nothing like with Cavonnier (when Grindstone beat him by a nose at the wire in the 1996 Derby). Nothing was worse than the Cavonnier loss.”
Bodemeister figures to be on the lead again Saturday, most likely with the Derby winner close by.
“It will probably be the two of us unless somebody else wants to join the fray,” said Baffert, when asked to assess the field. “I figure the horses coming out of the Derby are the biggest threats. I don’t know much about the new shooters.”
Never worse than second in five starts in a career that did not begin until mid-January, Bodemeister already is a millionaire.
“I enjoy watching him run,” Baffert said. “He’s a pretty tough horse.”
–Jockey Club Publicity contributed to this report.