Fresh horses await Derby win­ner Al­ways Dream­ing in Preak­ness

Cape Breton Post - - Sports -

Al­ways Dream­ing is headed to the Preak­ness in two weeks, when the Ken­tucky Derby win­ner is likely to face sev­eral fresh horses that skipped the first leg of the Triple Crown.

A ma­jor­ity of the 20-horse field that ran on a sloppy Churchill Downs track in Satur­day’s Derby won’t go on to Bal­ti­more.

Trainer Todd Pletcher said Sun­day that Al­ways Dream­ing will head to Bal­ti­more on Tues­day so the 3-year-old colt has plenty of time to ad­just to his new sur­round­ings ahead of the 1 3/16-mile race to be run May 20.

“At Pim­lico, there’s gen­er­ally not a lot of horses train­ing there,” he said. “It will be a quiet en­vi­ron­ment, give us time to get him set­tled in and if we have to make any ad­just­ments, we’ll have time to do that.”

Al­ways Dream­ing will take up res­i­dence in stall No. 40, which tra­di­tion­ally houses the Derby win­ner in the Pim­lico stakes barn.

The dark bay colt was dif­fi­cult to train in the days lead­ing to the Derby, forc­ing Pletcher to ad­just his equip­ment. Even­tu­ally, Al­ways Dream­ing set­tled down and won by 2 3/4 lengths, equal­ing the long­est streak of favourites to win since five in a row did so in the 1890s.

“He’s re­ally got some spring in his step this morn­ing,” Pletcher said.

The 49-year-old trainer and jockey John Ve­lazquez won their sec­ond Der­bies. Pletcher was still sort­ing through hun­dreds of con­grat­u­la­tory text mes­sages, in­clud­ing ones from Hall of Fame bas­ket­ball coach Lute Ol­son and Dal­las Cow­boys coach Jason Gar­rett.

No horse as­serted his dom­i­nance in the win­ter prep races lead­ing up to the 143rd Derby. As the win­ner, Al­ways Dream­ing cer­tainly com­mands re­spect. How­ever, the colt isn’t scar­ing away the com­pe­ti­tion in the Preak­ness.

The field for the sec­ond leg of the Triple Crown is capped at 14 — six fewer than the Derby.

“There’s not that much sep­a­ra­tion from this bunch of 3-year-olds right now, from what I can see, other than maybe the win­ner yes­ter­day,” said trainer Ken McPeek, who is point­ing Lex­ing­ton Stakes win­ner Se­nior In­vest­ment to­ward the Preak­ness.

Among Al­ways Dream­ing’s Derby ri­vals, sec­ond-place fin­isher Lookin At Lee and 13th­place Girvin are pos­si­ble for the Preak­ness. If an is­sue with fourth-place Clas­sic Em­pire’s right eye clears up, he could join them.

Clas­sic Em­pire got banged into by McCraken in the start of a chain-re­ac­tion col­li­sion and his eye was nearly closed shut on Sun­day.

“I’d like an­other crack at ev­ery­body be­cause he had a trip from hell,” trainer Mark Casse said. “He looks a bit like Muham­mad Ali af­ter a rough night.”

South­ern Cal­i­for­nia-based Royal Mo, who didn’t get into the Derby, will run in the Preak­ness.

Gun­n­ev­era, who was sev­enth in the Derby, is an­other pos­si­bil­ity.

Other pos­si­ble new shoot­ers in­clude Illi­nois Derby win­ner Mul­ti­plier, Cloud Com­put­ing, Con­quest Mo Money and Lan­caster Bomber from the barn of Ir­ish trainer Ai­dan O’Brien.

AP PHOTO

John Ve­lazquez cel­e­brates af­ter rid­ing Al­ways Dream­ing to vic­tory in the 143rd run­ning of the Ken­tucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Satur­day in Louisville, Ky.

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