I’ll Have Another, an $11,000 purchase as a yearling, overtook front-runner Bodemeister in the final strides of the Kentucky Derby to claim $1.5 million and a 1 1/2-length victory at 13-1. It was the first Derby ride for Mario Gutierrez, and the first Derby win for owner J. Paul Reddam, as well as trainer Doug O’Neil.
Today also marked the first time in history the Derby has been won by a horse from post position #19. Despite the handicap of the next-to-last outside post, I’ll Have Another and Gutierrez manuevered effortlessly to the inside, then ran down second-favorite Bodemeister, at 5-1, who had opened up a 5-length lead coming into the stretch, while setting the fifth fastest set of early fractions in the 138-year history of the race, including the first half in 45.1.
“He is so professional for his age,” said Gutierrez of I’ll Take Another, who he has ridden to 3 wins from 3 starts this year, including the Robert Lewis Stakes at odds of 43-1, and the Santa Anita Derby on April 7. “I always said I would pick this horse over any in the field.”
“He is such a mature colt,” added Reddam, a former University of Southern California philosophy professor turned president of a financial company, who also races harness horses in California and his native Canada.
Betting favorite Union Rags, at 9-2, paid for his slow break to finish sixth; Dullahan (11-1), winner of the Blue Grass Stakes and half-brother to 2009 Derby winner Mine That Bird, placed third at 11-1; Went The Day Well (28-1) finished fourth; and Creative Cause (12-1) was fifth.
Bred by Clarke Harvey and sired by Flower Alley with a stud fee of $7,500, I’ll Have Another sold for $11,000 as a yearling, then was sold again, for $35,000 in the Ocala Breeders 2-Year-Old Sale. Bodemeister, by comparison sold for $260,000 at the Keeneland September Sale.
“I think he showed what a brilliant horse he is,” said three-times Derby winner and Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert of Bodemeister, who would have been the first horse in history to win the Derby without racing as a 2-year-old. “I told Mike (Smith) to let him run the way he wanted to run and I am proud of him.”
Bodemeister, owned by Zayat Stables and sired by Empire Maker, won the April 14 Arkansas Derby, while Baffert was in Dubai recovering from the heart attack he suffered there six weeks ago.