Here’s mud in your eye
Derby winner Always Dreaming leaves field behind and heads off to the Preakness
LOUISVILLE, KY. — It’s part of the Kentucky Derby’s rite of passage, the excitement that builds for the Preakness the moment the winner crosses the finish line at Churchill Downs.
Is Always Dreaming good enough to win the Preakness? Sure.
Is he a Triple Crown horse? Probably not, but it’s too early to tell.
Saturday’s Kentucky Derby was not a good indication of the ability of many of the horses because the surface — which Equibase ridiculously labelled as wet fast — compromised the run of a lot of starters.
Normally, when a jockey or trainer says a horse didn’t like the surface, it’s code for “we don’t know why they didn’t run.” However, in this case, it’s true. But you can’t take anything away from Always Dreaming, who had a great trip over a field of closers.
“Always Dreaming came out of it in wonderful fashion, just excellent,” winning trainer Todd Pletcher said Sunday morning. “He ate very well last night and he’s got some spring in his step this morning.”
There won’t be a lot of familiar horses at the Preakness in two weeks.
If Always Dreaming didn’t win the Derby, it’s a certainty he wouldn’t be in the Preakness because Pletcher loathes bringing back horses that quickly.
Lookin at Lee, the second-place finisher for Steve Asmussen, is looking at the slightly shorter 1 3/16th mile race. “The Preakness is definitely a possibility for Lee,” Asmussen said. “We’ll give this race the respect it deserves and wait and see how he does when he gets back to the track.”
Classic Empire, who finished fourth, is a maybe for the Preakness. He came back to the barn with some small cuts and a swollen right eye that was about three-quarters shut. If the eye gets better he will likely go to Baltimore.
The connections of Gunnevera and Girvin haven’t made a decision yet on their next race.
Irish War Cry, the second favourite and the tout of a lot of handicappers, will be skipping the Preakness.
“I don’t see a lot of reason to go on to the Preakness at this point,” trainer Graham Motion said. “He’s had a pretty good campaign this spring, so it’s likely we’ll skip that and make a plan and point to the Haskell.”
As for California horses, there will likely be only one in the Preakness, Royal Mo, who was the 21st horse in a 20-horse field at the Derby. The scratch needed for him to enter the race never occurred.
Royal Mo has the same connections of trainer John Shirreffs and owner Jerry Moss as Gormley, who is being shipped back to Santa Anita. Gormley finished ninth in the Derby.
Jerry Hollendorfer, trainer of third-place Battle of Midway, told Maryland Jockey Club officials that it was highly unlikely the colt would go to Pimlico.
Trainer Doug O’Neill said that Irap, who finished 18th, would be sent back to Santa Anita on Tuesday. O’Neill does not plan to send any horses to Baltimore.
Sonneteer trainer Keith Desormeaux was asked what his colt’s next race was and he quipped: “How about a maiden race?’
Sonneteer, who finished 16th, was the only maiden in the Derby.
The field heads into the first turn during the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs Saturday in Louisville, Kentucky.
In this image made with a fish eye lens, John Velazquez rides Always Dreaming to victory in the Kentucky Derby.