For those who aren't sold on Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another adding the Preakness to his winning resume Saturday and setting up a Triple Crown try in the Belmont Stakes, we present the Bodemeister scenario: beaten Derby favorite returns to avenge his defeat by not only winning the Preakness, but going on to take the Belmont.
There have been 18 Preakness-Belmont winners, but seven did not run in the Derby, including Man o' War in 1920. Here's a look at a handful of disappointing Derby favorites who came through in the next two legs of the Triple Crown.
POINT GIVEN (2001)
In Bob Baffert's mind, Point Given was a cinch to give the trainer his third Derby win in five years. But the huge colt bumped with Monarchos early on, was eventually taken to the outside, had nothing left in the stretch and finished fifth as the 9-5 favorite. Monarchos won by 4¾ lengths. Point Given was the slight favorite in the Preakness and won by 2¼ lengths, with Monarchos finishing sixth. In the Belmont, the colt pulled away in the stretch and won by 12¼ lengths. "A man racing against boys," Baffert has said.
Hansel went off as the 5-2 Derby favorite, but Strike the Gold rallied from way back and passed almost every horse in the field to win by 1¾ lengths. Hansel, who ducked in and brushed another horse in the stretch and finished 10th, made amends by edging Strike the Gold by a head in the Preakness, then won the Belmont by seven lengths over Corporate Report, the horse Hansel brushed in the Derby.
A strong 8-5 favorite, Damascus (with Bill Shoemaker aboard) was poised to pounce on the far turn, but had nothing left in the stretch as 30-1 long shot Proud Clarion pulled the upset and Damascus wound up third, four lengths back. In the Preakness, Damascus circled the field with a rush, took the lead at the quarter pole and won by 2¼ lengths (Proud Clarion was third). He won the Belmont three weeks later.
With Eddie Arcaro aboard, Nashua was the 6-5 Derby favorite, but Swaps (ridden by Bill Shoemaker) drew clear in the final sixteenth-of-a-mile to win by 1½ lengths. Swaps did not run in the Preakness, and Nashua won it as well as the Belmont.
NATIVE DANCER (1953)
Sent off as the 7-10 favorite in the Derby, Native Dancer was roughed up in the first turn by Money Broker, eased back in the pack, raced wide, was bumped again in the stretch and still closed with but lost by a nose to 24-1 long shot Dark Star. Native Dancer came back and won the Withers, and then took the Preakness by a neck and the Belmont by the same margin.