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Kentucky Derby 2012: Gemologist ready to 'tackle the bears'

kentuckyderbylogo043012_optBY BOB HOLT
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

Since the Kentucky Derby was limited to 20 horses in 1975, the post time favorite has won just seven times. Only seven horses have won the race when they were undefeated.

Gemologist is undefeated in five starts, and just might be the post-time favorite.

Elliott Walden, racing manager of WinStar Farms, owner of Gemologist said, according to the Los Angeles Times, "I don't think there's any added pressure being undefeated. because to win the Derby is pressure enough."

“What’s important is that not only is he undefeated but he’s two-for-two at Churchill,” trainer Todd Pletcher said, according to kentuckyderby.com. “The fact the he’s won twice around two turns here I think is a big edge.”

Javier Castellano will be riding Gemologist.

Oddsmaker Mike Battaglia says the Derby favorite could have odds as high as 6-1, which would be the highest in the race’s history. "Normallly, three weeks out from the Derby, I can say it is between A and B," Battaglia said, according to the Sporting News. "This year it is between A, B, C, D and E. I cannot remember a year when it was so close between this many horses."

An Associated Press story in The Washington Post reports that 21 horses have been entered for Saturday’s race, one over the maximum. The field consists of the top 20 horses’ earnings in graded stakes races. My Adonis is No. 21, and would need one of the top 20 to scratch to get in.

That has happened in one case with Mark Valeski being withdrawn on Tuesday.

Trainer Larry Jones said that Monday’s five-furlong workout in 1:00.20 did not convince him the horse was ready to face this year’s Derby field.

“We really were looking for a ‘wow’ work and we don’t think Mark gave us that feeling,” Jones said, according to kentuckyderby.com. “When you go in you’ve got be ready to tackle the bears. This is the Derby.”

 

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