Derby Contenders

Prep Race History

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Date Race Grade Distance Finish Chart Replay
May 5 2012 138th Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands Churchill Downs I 1 1/4 2 REPLAY
Apr 14 2012 Arkansas Derby Oaklawn Park I 1 1/8 Miles 1 REPLAY
Mar 10 2012 San Felipe Santa Anita Park II 1 1/16 Miles 2 REPLAY


Bob Baffert


Hall of Famer Bob Baffert won the Kentucky Derby back-to-back in 1997 and 1998 with Silver Charm and Real Quiet and again in 2002 with War Emblem. He has saddled 19 horses in the Run for the Roses. He has won the Preakness stakes a record tying five times and has won the Eclipse Award for top trainer three times. Baffert has saddled two Kentucky Oaks winners, Silverbulletday and Plum Pretty.

Mike Smith


The son of a jockey, Smith, rode in his first race at age 11.  In 2005 Smith guided Giacomo to a win in the Kentucky Derby, and in 2013 rode Princess of Sylmar to victory in the Kentucky Oaks. He has won both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes and 17 Breeders' Cup races, including three Classics. He has won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey, the Mike Venezia Memorial Award, the  George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, and was inducted in the the Hall of Fame in 2003. Mounts include: Azeri, Zenyatta, Holy Bull, Skip Away, Thunder Gulch, and Lure.

Zayat Stables


Zayat Stables was formed in 2005 by Ahmed Zayat, an entrepreneur from Cairo, Egypt. Zayat was introduced to horses in his early teens while competing in national show jumping events in his native country. In 2009, Zayat’s Pioneer of the Nile won the Santa Anita Derby before finishing second in the Kentucky Derby. In 2010, Zayat was back on the Derby trail with early favorite Eskendereya, but he was withdrawn from the race because of injury. In the 137th Run for the Roses, Zayat again finished second with Nehro.

  • Photo: Reed Palmer Photography/Churchill Downs

  • Photo: Coady Photography/Corey Zamora

  • Photo: Coady Photography/Jeff Coady

  • Photo: Coady Photography/Renee Torbit

  • Photo: Coady Photography/John Gallagher

  • Photo: Coady Photography/Oaklawn Park

  • Photo: Coady Photography/Sunny Taylor

  • Photo: Coady Photography/Christopher Coady

  • Photo: Coady Photography/Christopher Coady

  • Photo: Coady Photography/Will Kenser


Empire Maker--Untouched Talent, by Storm Cat

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Well-bred son of Empire Maker should have plenty of stamina to stay the 1 1/4-mile distance.

Millionaire Empire Maker was the star of the 2003 Kentucky Derby trail. After demolishing the Florida Derby and scoring a shade cozily from Funny Cide in the Wood Memorial, Empire Maker loomed as the 5-2 favorite at Churchill Downs. His Derby dreams were compromised by hoof problems, however, and he settled for second to Funny Cide in the Kentucky Derby. Empire Maker exacted revenge in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes, where Funny Cide's Triple Crown bid ended with a well-beaten third. Unfortunately, Empire Maker's foot troubles resurfaced later that year, and he was retired following just eight lifetime starts.

Empire Maker is beautifully bred, being by champion Unbridled -- the 1990 Kentucky Derby, Florida Derby and Breeders' Cup Classic winner -- and out of Broodmare of the Year Toussaud. Perhaps owing to Toussaud's influence, Empire Maker has sired several outstanding fillies, including last year's champion three-year-old filly Royal Delta, winner of the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic; Grade 1 heroines Mushka, Acoma, Country Star and Icon Project; and current Kentucky Oaks contenders Grace Hall and In Lingerie (who like Bodemeister is out of a Storm Cat mare).

Before Bodemeister came along, Empire Maker's only Grade 1-winning son was Pioneerof the Nile, the 2009 Santa Anita Derby hero and Kentucky Derby runner-up. His promising colt Battle Plan appeared to be Grade 1 caliber, but he suffered a career-ending injury when second in the 2010 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill. Battle Plan was then sold to Japan for stud duty. Several months later, Empire Maker was also exported to Japan. His loss to the American breeding industry might be felt even more keenly over Oaks and Derby weekend.

Bodemeister is the second foal, but first runner, produced by the Grade 3-winning mare Untouched Talent. Raced only as a juvenile, Untouched Talent scored a debut win in the Juan Gonzalez Memorial Stakes at Pleasanton and added the Sorrento Stakes next out. She finished second in her two remaining starts in the Del Mar Debutante and Alcibiades and called it a career, suggesting that she was well named.

Untouched Talent is by world renowned sire Storm Cat, whose male-line descendants include 2012 Derby contenders Creative Cause, Daddy Long Legs, Daddy Nose Best, and Sabercat. A top-class performer who missed by a whisker in the 1985 Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Storm Cat has sired such notables as European champion and superb sire Giant's Causeway; 1994 Preakness and Belmont winner Tabasco Cat; 1999 Breeders' Cup Classic hero Cat Thief; Grade 1-winning millionaire Bluegrass Cat, the 2006 Kentucky Derby and Belmont runner-up; champion fillies like Storm Flag Flying and Sweet Catomine; and noted stallions Forestry, Hennessy, Stormy Atlantic, Bernstein and Tale of the Cat.

Although Storm Cat has established a prolific sire line, he is also successful as a broodmare sire. His daughters are responsible for a host of major runners, including last year's beaten Derby favorite Dialed In; other prominent sophomores of years past, like Sidney's Candy, Nobiz Like Shobiz and Buddha; Sky Mesa and Jump Start, both smart juveniles in their day; and such champions as sprinter Speightstown, juvenile filly Folkore and the Irish-based filly Misty for Me.

Untouched Talent is out of Parade Queen, a multiple Grade 3 winner on turf. Parade Queen is by redoubtable stamina influence A.P. Indy and out of a stakes-winning turf mare, Spanish Parade, who is in turn by another powerful stayer in Roberto. Spanish Parade's dam, Grade 2-placed Nijit, is by English Triple Crown winner Nijinsky II.

Tracing the maternal line further, one finds 1973 English champion juvenile filly Bitty Girl appearing as Bodemeister's fifth dam. Bitty Girl's descendants include Action This Day, the champion two-year-old colt of 2003.

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