By now, everybody knows that luck plays a significant role in modern Kentucky Derby victories.  The combination of so many factors — the huge crowd, the intense media pressure, two starting gates, a big field and the first time running 10 furlongs so early in their sophomore season — make the Derby awfully hard to handicap.

Virginia-bred Bodemeister will face all those obstacles and more on Saturday when he tries to follow in the footsteps of Reigh Count, Secretariat, Pleasant Colony and Sea Hero and become the fifth Va-bred to wear the Derby’s roses.  

Then, on top of all the usual challenges, Bodemeister will also have to make history and become the first horse in the “modern era” to win the Kentucky Derby without the benefit of racing as a two-year-old.

The last horse to accomplish this feat was Apollo way back in 1882…

Gary West wrote a column for ESPN examining how things have changed since Apollo won carrying a feather light 102 lbs and what role juvenile racing and experience has played the first Saturday in May.

Can Bodemeister break the trend?  To read more, click here