Luckless Long Legs draws Kentucky rail

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By Nicholas Godfrey in Louisville
Racing Post

Breeders Cup 2010

USA: Aidan O’Brien’s Kentucky Derbycontender Daddy Long Legs received few favours at the post-position draw on Wednesday night when he was drawn on the rail in gate one of a 20-runner field.

No horse has won the $2.2 million event from the inside post since Ferdinand in 1986 – and that victory came after a 23-year gap for gate one after Chateaugay in 1966.

An inside draw is a particular concern for horses like Daddy Long Legs, who like to hold a prominent position, as their race could be over in a matter of strides as others cross over.

After the draw the son of Scat Daddy was made a 30-1 outsider on the indicative morning line at Churchill Downs, where the UAE Derby winner will be reunited with Colm O’Donoghue, who rode him at Meydan.

Daddy Long Legs arrived at 5am on Wednesday morning and will not visit the track until Friday as he must undergo 48 hours’ quarantine.

The Ballydoyle colt and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Hansen and Daddy Long Legs were the last two horses to draw their spots at the draw ceremony, with only the dreaded one-hole and 14 remaining. Daddy Long Legs duly got the rail, much to the relief of Hansen’s connections.

“Fourteen is perfect,” said Hansen’s trainer Mike Maker. “We’re outside of all the other speed. I’m hoping we can sit right off them.”

Alpha, trained for Godolphin by Kiaran McLaughlin, starts from gate 11 under Rajiv Maragh. A sixth place from China Visit in 2000 is the best achieved by seven previous runners for Sheikh Mohammed’s team, although Alpha represents a departure as he did not spend the winter in Dubai.

Alpha misbehaved in the starting gate before the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, where he was well beaten. Post-positions one and 11 are the first to be loaded, which is a worry for McLaughlin.

“It’s a good position, it’s just that he has to load first,” he said. “We didn’t really want that. I’ll just be nervous until they spring the latch.”

Morning-line favourite is Bodemeister, who will start from gate six as he bids to become trainer Bob Baffert’s fourth Derby winner. “He has a chance from there,” said Baffert. “I just didn’t want the one hole.”

Baffert is clearly back to wisecracking self after his recent heart attack in Dubai. “I don’t know which is worse, drawing the one hole or getting three stents,” he said, speaking to the Blood-Horse. “I told (wife) Jill, if it’s between three stents or the one hole I think Iwould take the three stents.”

Baffert’s second runner, the 50-1 shot Liaison will start from the outside in post 20.

Arkansas Derby winner Bodemeister, the mount of Mike Smith, also remains favourite in Britain, just ahead of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up Union Rags, who galloped nicely in a tongue tie on Wednesday.

Union Rags, to be ridden by Julien Leparoux from gate four, is trained by Michael Matz, who saddled the ill-fated Barbaro to a dominant victory win in 2006. “He captured a lot of people’s hearts,” said Matz. “He was an undefeated horse. Every time we ran him, he won, except the time he got hurt. In the racing community, I think he brought a lot of people together. I even think when he did get hurt, he brought even more people together.

Wood Memorial winner Gemologist (drawn 15) brings an unbeaten record tothis year’s race for trainer Todd Pletcher, who also saddles Louisiana Derby victor El Padrino.

>> The Kentucky Derby, which takes place at 11.24 UK time on Saturday, will be shown live in a special programme on Racing UK. Coverage from NBC in the States will be augmented by studio analysis from expert trio Angus McNae, James Willoughby and Dave Gutfreund.

Kentucky Derby post-position draw (with morning-line odds)

  1. Daddy Long Legs Colm O’Donoghue 30-1
    2. Optimizer Jon Court 50-1
    3. Take Charge Indy Calvin Borel 15-1
    4. Union Rags Julien Leparoux 9-2
    5. Dullahan Kent Desormeaux 8-1
    6. Bodemeister Mike Smith 4-1
    7. Rousing Sermon Jose Lezcano 50-1
    8. Creative Cause Joel Rosario 12-1
    9. Trinniberg Willie Martinez 50-1
    10. Daddy Nose Best Garrett Gomez 15-1
    11. Alpha Rajiv Maragh 15-1
    12. Prospective Luis Contreras 30-1
    13. Went The Day Well John Velazquez 20-1
    14. Hansen Ramon Dominguez 10-1
    15. Gemologist Javier Castellano 6-1
    16. El Padrino Rafael Bejarano 20-1
    17. Done Talking Sheldon Russell 50-1
    18. Sabercat Corey Nakatani 30-1
    19. I’ll Have Another Martin Gutierrez 12-1
    20. Liaison Martin Garcia 50-1
    Reserve My Adonis Elvis Trujillo

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