Bodexpress Odds to Win the 2019 Kentucky Derby with Picks and Predictions
Pretty much the only people truly happy about the very unfortunate last scratch of likely Kentucky Derby favorite Omaha Beach are the connections of Bodexpress. For a few years now, the Derby has taken up to two more entries than there are spots in the race. If a horse is scratched before Friday morning, then the first also-eligible - or the only one this year - draws in. Omaha Beach was going to be in the 12 hole to start, but Bodexpress will draw into the far outside 20 gate, and every horse originally slated to start from 13 to 20 will move one spot closer to the rail.
Bodexpress gets to run in the Derby because his connections entered him, and it's worth noting that he did have as many points as Spinoff, the last horse in, so he was the next horse in line no matter what. But it is very hard to believe that he will be at all competitive. Just because a horse has the points to run in the Derby doesn't mean he belongs in the Derby - and this one doesn't.
Last race: Bodexpress earned all of his Kentucky Derby points in one race - his lone stakes appearance. He went wire-to-wire in second place in the Florida Derby behind Maximum Security in easily the oddest prep race of the season. Maximum Security got the lead as is his preference in that race, but the field made the decision to let him lead through fractions so slow he was almost walking. They ran the first half mile in just short of 49 seconds, which would be slow for claiming races, never mind for horses at this level. When you let a speed horse run that slow on the lead, they aren't going to be caught, and the top two in that race pulled off a serious heist. Maximum Security could have been good enough to be a factor anyway if the race had run more honestly, but Bodexpress' result was entirely due to the craziness of the race.
Prior experience: A horse is a maiden until they win their first race. For most horses of this caliber, that takes only a race or two. Bodexpress is still a maiden through five races. A maiden in the Derby is a rarity, and it doesn't take a genius to make the argument that they don't belong. Not only has he not won a race yet, but his first four starts were in maiden races. He can't even beat other horses that have yet to win a race, and now we have to believe he can beat the best three-year-olds racing right now? Good luck with that. He made his first start in November at Gulfstream Park West and was a disastrous ninth over six furlongs. A month later he led early, again at six furlongs, at Gulfstream, but he was caught around the final turn and wound up second. After another month, he stretched out to a mile and saw a sloppy track for the first time, and one or both of those factors forced him to weaken late and he wound up fourth. His last maiden attempt was arguably his best. At seven furlongs, he overcame early contact, stalked the pace much of the way, charged down the stretch, and missed by a neck. It's worth noting, though, that it was in a slightly lower class of maiden race than his first three starts. What the connections saw in those four races that led them to think a stakes race was what was needed is beyond me.
Trainer: Gustavo Delgado has won four Triple Crown races in his career. The reason you probably haven't heard of him, though, is that those wins came in Venezuela, where he was a legendary trainer before coming to Florida in 2014. Up here he has had less impressive success, with just four graded stakes wins - and just 10 wins this year so far. This is not his first appearance in the Derby, though. In 2016, he brought longshot Majesto to the race. I thought he had a decent chance to factor into the exotics, but I was wrong - he wound up 18th in the 19-horse field.
Jockey: Chris Landeros has the mount, and it's not a name we are used to seeing in big races. He's immersed in the sport - he's the son of a trainer and is married to trainer Ian Wilkes' daughter. And he has won more than 1,400 races since starting in 2007. But he has only 11 career graded stakes wins, and none have come in a Grade 1. He's perhaps in over his head against the best of the field here - especially with a horse like this one. This is a big weekend for him, though - he is riding Kentucky Oaks contender Champagne Anyone on Friday for his father-in-law.
Breeding: By far the best part of this colt is his breeding. He is a son of Bodemeister, who finished second in the Derby and the Preakness in 2012 for Bob Baffert. In both races he led until the wire was only strides away before being passed by I'll Have Another. Bodemeister made a big splash in his first crop as a sire, as his son Always Dreaming won the Derby in 2017. Bodemeister is a son of Empire Maker, who was second in 2003 Derby to Funny Cide, skipped the Preakness, and then ruined a Triple Crown bid by winning the Belmont. And Empire Maker is a son of Unbridled, who won both the Derby and the Breeders' Cup Classic in 1990 and is the last sire to sire different winners of each Triple Crown race. And Bodexpress' damsire is City Zip, who is also represented in the Derby by son Improbable, who will be among the favorites.
Odds: Bodexpress was priced at 30/1 on the morning line, which put him ahead of only Gray Magician and Master Fencer. It would be truly shocking if he didn't go off significantly higher than this price by post time.
Can Bodexpress Win the 2019 Kentucky Derby?: No. If he does then this race has gone really, really wrong. A win by him would be an ugly scar on the Derby's history.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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