Well related son of Empire Maker who was unraced as a juvenile but has quickly made up for lost time in winning two of his four starts this year, including when clocking the best Beyer figure in this field when making every yard in the Arkansas Derby. That is one of three triple figure Beyer figures that Bob Baffert's charge has recorded, a mark that only three other runners in the field have broken, but a lack of experience and relatively quick return to the track are potential negatives. The last Derby winner to be unraced as a juvenile was Apollo in 1882.
Beaten favourite in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile when going down by a head to the reopposing Hansen on his final start at two and was surprisingly turned over in the Florida Derby won by Take Charge Indy. Found plenty of trouble in running that day and also had to overcome a track bias and a slow pace; his jockey blamed himself for the defeat and this son of Dixie Union deserves credit in being the only runner in the field to make up ground on the front-running winner having only got racing room once the race was over. Stamina to prove over this trip but his big-race jockey has no doubts and has put in some impressive track work.
Attempting to become the eighth horse to retain an unbeaten record in the Kentucky Derby with 2008 winner Big Brown the last to do so. Boasts a similar profile to Todd Pletcher's previous Derby winner Super Saver and the son of Tiznow showed a good attitude to repel the challenge of Alpha in the Wood Memorial last time in a manner reminiscent of his sire. However, questions have been asked about the quality of those that he's beaten but connections - while acknowledging that he needs to improve - believe that he could be something special.
Closer who has won two of his eight career starts, gaining revenge on Hansen - to whom he was fourth in the BC Juvenile - last month when taking his second Grade One on Keeneland's polytrack in the Blue Grass Stakes. His running style could prove to be a disadvantage on the dirt track at Churchill, a course he has raced at on two other occasions to the juvenile, finishing no better than third and no closer than the six lengths he was beaten at the Breeders Cup. Supporters will be hoping that, as is sometimes the case, the leaders go off too fast opening the door for the closers.
Outside the four contenders priced in single figures there are plenty to consider with this being billed as one of the most competitive Derby line-ups for many a year.
Alpha and Creative Cause (who beat Bodemeister in the San Felipe) haven't had ideal preparations while the draw has made the tough task facing Daddy Long Legs even harder but the Florida and Santa Anita Derby winners Take Charge Indy and I'll Have Another are live players while Hansen had eight of this field behind him in the Juvenile last year.
Todd Pletcher is bullish about the chances of Gemologist but Bodemeister has clocked some sensational speed figures and simply demolished his opponents last time.
He has history and inexperience to overcome as well as fly in the ointment Trinniberg who could pose a problem to the prominent racing Bodemeister in setting furious fractions which will favour the closers.
However, he has the right man on his side in three time Derby winning trainer Bob Baffert to conquer those potential pitfalls and could prove to be an exceptional colt.