ALPHA (Post position 11, morning line 15-1) – Kiaran McLaughlin (trainer) – “We’re first in the gate. But he’s been great. It’s just going to make me more nervous. He’s fine. It’s a good position in gate, No. 11. It’s just that he has to load first. We didn’t really want that. It’s OK. We can’t do anything about it. He’s been great. I’ll just be nervous until they spring the latch.”
BODEMEISTER (Post position 6, morning line 4-1)/LIAISON (Post position 20, morning line 50-1) – Bob Baffert (trainer) – On Bodemeister: “I was relieved that he didn’t get the one hole. I just didn’t want to be stuck on the rail, like I was with Lookin at Lucky and had that horrible feeling. I think all the good horses drew really well for this race. It’s going to be very competitive.”
On Liaison: “It’s not upsetting. I was hoping for maybe the 16 or something like that. I wanted him on the outside because he doesn’t like to take a lot of dirt. At least he’s going to have a clear shot. He can just take his time with him from there and move down. It’s not the end of the world.”
Mike Smith (jockey, Bodemeister) – “The post is fine. The ideal thing would probably to be to the outside of the other speed, but it is what it is. We’ve all got to get in there and we’ve all got to break well. We’ll play it off the break and see what happens. I think that 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.”
CREATIVE CAUSE (Post position 8, morning line 12-1) – Mike Harrington (trainer) – “It’s perfect. The post gives him a chance to get out and get a good stalking position. Depending on the speed, I expect him to three or four lengths off the leaders. That’s the way he runs.”
Was he getting a little edgy over the draw as some inside posts and outside posts were open before his name was drawn? “Yes, I was getting a little worried. I wanted to be somewhere between 7 and 12.”
DADDY LONG LEGS (Post position 1, morning line 30-1) – No representative available.
DADDY NOSE BEST (Post position 10, morning line 15-1)/SABERCAT (Post position 18, morning line 30-1) – Steve Asmussen (trainer) – “We were extremely fortunate with the draw and love exactly where both of the horses are.
“Both of these horses have acted well so far. Derby Day is a different scenario but I think we’re in great shape with both horses.”
DONE TALKING (Post position 17, morning line 50-1) – Hamilton Smith (trainer) – “I would have liked to be a little further down inside than 17, but we’ll take it. I’m just glad to have a horse in the post parade. There’s a lot of speed in the middle of the gate that might be out and gone, leaving us a chance to get over some. We’ll let (jockey) Sheldon (Russell) do his best from there.”
DULLAHAN (Post position 5, morning line 8-1) – Dale Romans (trainer) – “It’s obviously a good spot when the five-hole is one of the winningest post positions in Derby history (eight wins, tied for second-most since 1930). I don’t think the post draw was quite as important to our horse compared to some of the other speed horses, or when we had Shackleford last year. It’s good to be there in post five.”
EL PADRINO (Post position 16, morning line 20-1)/GEMOLOGIST (Post position 15, morning line 6-1) – Todd Pletcher (trainer) – “Perfect. It worked out perfect. I love the 15, the first one in the auxiliary gate. There’s a little space there. He’s outside all the speed. They’re both together, so it makes it easier in the paddock.”
HANSEN (Post position 14, morning line 10-1) – Mike Maker (trainer) – On the tension of drawing either 1 or 14, the last two positions remaining:
“There’s nothing you can do about it, so I don’t worry about it.
On drawing the 14: “Perfect. We’ve got the little space between the gates. It couldn’t have gone any better.”
I’LL HAVE ANOTHER (Post position 19, morning line 12-1) – Doug O’Neill (trainer) – “It’s not ideal, but it’s better than being inside. We will get to load late, so that is a plus. We’ll be outside all the speed so we’ll probably have a good chance to get good position. If they go 46 [seconds] or 47 and change for a half [mile], I’ll feel good. That will put him in position to close strongly.”
MY ADONIS (Post Position AE 21, morning line 50-1) – Kelly Breen (trainer) – “Just knowing that we weren’t going to be the one or the two post, I guess, is nice. Being the 20 is better than being down on the inside. It is what it is and we’ve got to hope that we benefit from someone else’s misfortune and if it wasn’t meant to be then it wasn’t meant to be.
“Last year we actually had Ruler On Ice entered, in case something happened at the last minute, and he didn’t get in, but he went on to win the Belmont. We were happy to enter our horse and if it isn’t meant to be then so be it.”
OPTIMIZER (Post position 2, morning line 50-1) – D. Wayne Lukas (trainer) – “Not good. Well, it’s not so bad. My horse isn’t going to be that quick. You get down there and you are going to get a lot of dirt. We’ll have to deal with it. I’m in the race, and that’s the main thing.”
PROSPECTIVE (Post position 12, morning line 30-1) – Mark Casse (trainer) – “Anywhere between 5 and 14 was what I said I wanted, and last I checked, 12 falls between them. It’s kind of a good draw for our style. I see us being mid-pack. We have to have a perfect trip to be a competitor, but our horse is training extremely well.”
ROUSING SERMON (Post position 7, morning line 50-1) – Jerry Hollendorfer (trainer) – “It’s a good post for us. He should be able to get out of the gate good and get good position. There’s speed inside and outside, so we’re in good shape. I think Trinniberg will make the lead and drag Bodemeister along with him. I’m hoping we will be in mid-pack after a half-mile, but not on the rail.”
Larry D. Williams (co-owner, co-breeder) – If Jerry’s happy, I’m happy.”
TAKE CHARGE INDY (Post position 3, morning line 15-1) – “I love it. We’re inside. We are going to have an inside trip. Now we’re in the three hole; I’m glad we didn’t get the one. I called (jockey Calvin Borel’s) agent (Jerry Hissam) and to quote Calvin, he said’ dangerous.’ It’s a great spot. Borel wanted three to eight and we got three. We were three in the Florida Derby and he was three the first time he ran.”
TRINNIBERG (Post position 9, morning line 50-1) – Shivananda Parbhoo (owner) – “I like it. We won’t have to use too much. We can get position where he’s supposed to be.”
UNION RAGS (Post position 4, morning line 9-2) – Michael Matz (trainer) – “We’re going to have him run out of there a little bit, but that’s not the worst thing in the world. My original thought was that I wasn’t crazy about it, but where everybody is, I don’t think it’s so bad.”
WENT THE DAY WELL (Post position 13, morning line 20-1) – Graham Motion (trainer): “It’s great. I said before that I’d like 10 through 16, so it’s perfect. The speed seems to be all around us, which is fine. I’m very happy where we are.”
Mike Battaglia, Morning Line Oddsmaker:
Why did you give the edge to Bodemeister and make him the morning line favorite?
“His Arkansas Derby was huge. He got a big number – it was 10 points higher than any other on the Beyer scale – which the bettors look at. It was an impressive performance and he’s one of those horses that is just improving at the right time. He’s really gotten better, so I gave him a little edge over Union Rags, who had the excuse in the Florida Derby – when he could have gotten the job done he didn’t but he did have a legitimate excuse – and he’s trained so well here.
“It was very close. If Bodemeister had drawn the one, or even the two, I would’ve switched them and made Union Rags the favorite.
“I wanted to make them co-favorite. I haven’t had the two favorites this close, actually, since Street Sense and Curlin. I wanted to make them co-favorite and I didn’t and they went off 10 cents apart.”
NOTE: Mike Battaglia has done every Kentucky Derby morning line since 1975.
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 5, 2012, and its Spring Meet is scheduled for April 28-July 1. The track has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record eight times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.