Bloodhorse.com confirmed last week that Lafayette/Houston/Dallas businessman Mike Moreno’s Southern Equine Stables purchased a minority interest in Arkansas Derby winner Bodemeister, who is favored to win the 138th Kentucky Derby Saturday.
Though it’s sure to be in the multi millions — “a very healthy, lucrative arrangement for us,” according to Bodemeister’s owner — the purchase price was not disclosed.
We’re not sure if he’ll be sipping mint juleps tomorrow, but we’d be willing to bet Moreno will be in Louisville to see Bodemeister run. He’ll also catch a glimpse of local jockeys Kent Desormeaux and Calvin Borel, whom Forbes calls “simply one of the most successful jockeys in the history of the Kentucky Derby” in a story published today.
Boastful in private settings though publicly humble, Moreno does have a track record for paying top dollar when it comes to race horses. In 2008, he paid $14 million for Better Than Honour, dam of back-to-back Belmont Stakes grade I winners Jazil (2006) and Rags to Riches (2007), setting a world Thoroughbred auction record for a broodmare or broodmare prospect, according to bloodhorse.com. She was the last horse through the sale ring during the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November select mixed auction in Lexington that year.
Friday’s Bleacher Report noted that Mike Battaglia, the oddsmaker who has been doing the morning line for the Derby since 1975, placed Bodemeister as the 4-1 morning line favorite (even though he did not run as a 2-year-old and no horse has won the Kentucky Derby without running as a 2-year-old since Apollo in 1882), followed by Florida Derby third-place finisher Union Rags at 9-2, undefeated Todd Pletcher trainee Gemologist at 6-1 and the Blue Grass Stakes champ Dullahan at 8-1. Bleacher noted:
Bodemeister has three straight eye-popping three-digit Beyer figures (108, 101, 101) coming into the race and has been improving with each race. He is trained by Bob Baffert and will have Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith aboard.
In a story last week, bloodhorse.com confirmed Moreno’s minority interest in Bodemeister via his owner, Ahmed Zayat:
The 3-year-old son of Empire Maker will remain in training with Bob Baffert under Zayat Stable management and will continue to campaign under the Zayat silks, the owner said.
Southern Equine Stable[s] now owns a third of the colt, who is seeking to become the first winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) who did not race at age 2 since Apollo in 1882.
“I was approached by many people in the industry looking for a chance to buy into this colt,” Zayat remarked. “I picked Mike because he’s a great sportsman and somebody who has spent a great deal of time and money building up a high-quality broodmare band which will be good support to the colt when he eventually retires to stud. Mike is very excited about Bodemeister, as are we.”
Although Zayat declined to comment on purchase price, he called the deal “a very healthy, lucrative arrangement for us.”
Bodemeister breezed five-eighths of a mile in 1:00 4/5 April 24 at Churchill Downs in preparation for his Derby bid. He has two wins and two seconds in four starts with earnings of $704,800, beginning his career in January before breaking his maiden at Santa Anita in his second start. Following a second in the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II), he rolled to victory in the April 14 Arkansas Derby, drawing off to win by 9 1/2 lengths.
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In more local Derby news, Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Casino is offering live wagering and simulcasting Saturday. Races at Churchill Downs begin at 9:30 a.m. Countdown to the Run for the Roses will begin at 4 p.m, with $3 mint juleps starting at 3 p.m.
Immediately following the Derby, there will be a full night of live racing at Evangeline Downs.
Three shops have signed on as partners for Kentucky Derby Day at Evangeline Downs: 7 Chics in River Ranch, La Femme in Parc Lafayette and La Boutique in Opelousas. All three shops offer items ladies need to prepare for a day at the Derby.