I’ll Have Another looked like just another horse at the Kentucky Derby.
Until the final furlong, that is.
That’s when the chestnut colt – sold for a paltry $11,000, ridden by a rookie jockey hardly anyone knew and stuck in an outside post – blazed past highly regarded Bodemeister to win by 1 1/2 lengths on Saturday, beating one of the deepest fields in years.
I’ll Have Another stormed out of post No. 19 – the first winner from there in 138 runnings of the Derby – and bided his time back in mid-pack while Bodemeister set a blistering pace on a muggy, 85-degree afternoon at Churchill Downs.
Still, Gutierrez was largely a mystery to the record crowd of 165,307, who didn’t know 15-1 shot I’ll Have Another or the jockey had the right stuff until the 20-horse field turned for home. That’s when Gutierrez, who moved up between horses around the final turn, positioned his colt not far from the rail and set him down to run.
“I know my horse was reaching every single step of the way, but I wasn’t going to stop riding until I was passing the wire,” he said. “That is when the horse race is finished.”
I’ll Have Another overhauled a tiring Bodemeister to win by 1 1/2 lengths. He paid $32.60, $13.80 and $9. He ran 1 1/4 miles in 2:01.83.
Bodemeister, trained by three-time Derby winner Bob Baffert, was second and returned $6.20 and $5.60 as the 4-1 favorite. Dullahan was a neck back in third and paid $7.20 to show.
O’Neill didn’t waste any time vowing that I’ll Have Another will go on to the Preakness in two weeks.
“Maryland, here we come, baby!” he said.
Jay Rood with MGM Resorts made his selections with GamingToday in last Tuesday’s edition. “I’ll Have Another – The strong horses like Union Rags and Bodemeister will be tough to beat, but this horse has a good shot and should be a decent price. I’m a price guy.”