Preakness offers encouraging news for Always Dreaming

Ruben Hill
May 20, 2017

Sure, its the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. "He was four in the Florida Derby, five in the Kentucky Derby".

"There's more anxiety when you have the Derby victor and you're going for the Preakness and he's favorite, so that part is different but preparation-wise you're trying to do everything you can to have him the best you can on the day", added Pletcher. He prefers giving his horses more rest between starts. Pletcher is 0 for 8, with his highest finish coming in 2000 when Impeachment was third.

This is just Pletcher's second Kentucky Derby victor.

At Churchill Downs, Always Dreaming glided down the stretch ahead of the pack, barely a speck of mud on him.

Hes wolfing down crab cakes at every opportunity and offering up local restaurant tips to anyone who asks.

"He never was a real charismatic, amusing person", mentor and Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said, "but he always handled himself well".

And his horses even better.

Pletcher has won Eclipse Awards seven times as the nation's leading trainer, including four in a row.

"The champ's been knocked down and he's going to come back and try to take back the crown", Casse said. Both are owned by Zayat Stables, which two years ago won the Preakness with Triple Crown victor American Pharoah. Classic Empire finished fourth in the Derby, but it was a creditable performance after a rough start, and he should do better Saturday.

"I would imagine that they are going to target us and the target is right next to you", Pletcher said.

"The tank seems full and he seems eager to go", he said.

Always Dreaming won the Kentucky Derby because he's America's most consistently fast 3-year-old, and it's most consistently lucky.

Neither Velazquez nor Pletcher has won the Preakness.

IBT Prediction: This is Always Dreaming's race to lose.

Conquest Mo Money was not nominated to the Triple Crown. But when American Pharoah finally snapped the drought two years ago, did we suddenly forget how hard of an accomplishment this is? “Were just trying to keep it as simple as possible. We'll just come away and try to establish some position and see what some other horses are doing.

On paper, it's Always Dreaming's race to lose, but these events often don't follow the script. Handicappers calculate and agonize obsessively over an equation in which the numbers may not fit.

Though the odds maker at Pimlico may not have been impressed, Todd Pletcher, the trainer of Always Dreaming, expects another close race on Saturday.

"I did the easy part, writing the check", the elder Bonomo said. “Hes quiet in the stall. When he gets on the track, he's strong but in a good way. We dont want to see him get too excited and step on himself.”.

If the colt is showing an eagerness to compete again, so is Pletcher.

"I just want the race to get here", he said. “Hes doing so good.”. "He ran a terrific race in the Kentucky Derby". "I think he's going to be tougher to beat than I thought he would be going into the Derby".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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