2012 Kentucky Derby: Bodemeister, Union Rags Are Favorites To Win

The fastest two minutes in all of sports is coming this Saturday, May 5, when the 2012 Kentucky Derby gets underway at the illustrious Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. As always, the hype leading up to the race will revolve around which horses are favored to win the race, if they have a chance to win the first Triple Crown in decades, and of course, what the odds are on each horse.

This year's Kentucky Derby has two horses that are favored to win: Bodemeister and Union Rags. Both Bodemeister and Union Rags have been given 9/2 odds to win the Run for the Roses.

Bodemeister has a familiar trainer to the horse racing scene -- Bob Baffert. Baffert is a three-time Kentucky Derby winner, winning it in consecutive years in 1997 and 1998, and winning it again in 2002. In each of those three years, Baffert has won the Preakness as well, coming painfully close to completing the Triple Crown, but coming up just shy.

Mike Smith will be the jockey riding Bodemeister, barring a last minute change. Smith has won each of the Triple Crown races before, winning the Preakness in 1993, the Kentucky Derby in 2005 and the Belmont in 2010.

As for Bodemeister's owner, he belongs to Zayat Stables, which was formed by Egyptian Ahman Zayat. Zayat has never won the Kentucky Derby, though he did come close a few times, most recently in 2011 when Nehro finished in second place.

Union Rags, meanwhile, has been trained by Michael Matz -- who also trained 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro. Unfortunately for Matz, Barbaro's career ended at the Preakness, when the young horse shattered its leg, eventually leading to its death.

Julien Leparoux will ride Union Rags on Saturday, and the Frenchman will be looking for his first-ever Triple Crown win. Leparoux is an accomplished jockey nonetheless, having won two-of-three Breeders Cup races in one year (2009).

Union Rags belongs to Phyllis Wyeth and Chadds Ford Stables. Wyeth oddly enough used to work for John F. Kennedy while he was only a Senator from Massachusetts, and continued to work for him during his presidency.

Of course, neither of the favorites won last year, as Animal Kingdom came into the Kentucky Derby with just 20/1 odds and pulled off the upset.

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