Here’s mud in your eye

Derby win­ner Al­ways Dream­ing leaves field be­hind and heads off to the Preak­ness

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - JOHN CHERWA

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.

PA­TRICK SMITH, GETTY IMAGES

The field heads into the first turn dur­ing the 143rd run­ning of the Ken­tucky Derby at Churchill Downs Satur­day in Louisville, Ken­tucky.

MATT SLOCUM, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

In this im­age made with a fish eye lens, John Ve­lazquez rides Al­ways Dream­ing to vic­tory in the Ken­tucky Derby.

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