Bodexpress is scheduled to make a run at a belated graduation on Monday's Columbus Day program at Gulfstream Park West, but the 3-year-old son of Bodemeister is hardly just another unaccomplished maiden.
Owned by Top Racing LLC, Global Thoroughbreds and trainer Gustavo Delgado's GDS Racing Stable, Bodexpress will bring a rather imposing resume into the mile-and-70-yard maiden special weight event that is carded as Race 2.
Bodexpress earned a Grade 1 placing at Gulfstream Park March 30 when he finished second in the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) behind Maximum Security, who went on to finish first in the Kentucky Derby (G1), only to be controversially disqualified. He finished 3 ¼ lengths clear of third-place finisher Code of Honor, who went on to finish third in the Kentucky Derby before being elevated to second due to the disqualification. Maximum Security went on to win the Haskell (G1) at Monmouth, while Code of Honor went on to win the Dwyer (G2), Travers (G1) and Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1).
His strong performance in the Florida Derby earned Bodexpress a berth in the Kentucky Derby, in which he finished 14th of 19 after being taken up in traffic on the turn into the homestretch. He hasn't raced since the May 18 Preakness Stakes (G1), in which he reared at the start and unseated his rider.
“After that stressful event, we wanted to give him a break. We sent him to Ocala. One of the owner's owns a farm up there,” said Gustavo Delgado Jr., the son and assistant trainer of the Venezuelan training legend who ventured to South Florida in 2011.
Bodexpress has had a series of six workouts for his return, including a pair of strong five-furlong breezes in his most recent morning outings.
“He's been doing really, really well. He's been improving every week. He's giving the signals that he's coming back in the same shape he was in,” Delgado said. “He's looking like a million bucks right now. Not only that, but he's seems more mature. He's quieter, so we're hoping that's a good sign.”
Bodexpress' runner-up finish in the Florida Derby isn't the only impressive performance on his resume. Prior to the Florida Derby, the Delgado trainee experienced a tough beat in a maiden special weight won by Shancelot, who would go on to win the Amsterdam (G2) by 12 ½ lengths and is likely to be one of the favorites for the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita Nov. 2.
“It's unbelievable the horses he's faced,” Delgado Jr. said. “We're hoping he comes back at the same level. I'm not saying he's 100 percent in shape, but if he's anywhere close, he should deliver in this race.”
Bodexpress enters Monday's race as undoubtedly racing's most high-profile maiden.
“He's famous now,” Delgado Jr. said. “He's famous maybe for the reasons we don't want him to be famous for, but we take that in a very humble way.”
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