Brook­lyn-owned Al­ways Dream­ing is top Preak­ness con­tender

Wil­liams­burg’s An­thony Bon­amo and Vin­cent Vi­ola hope their horse will take the sec­ond jewel of the Triple Crown af­ter win­ning the Ken­tucky Derby.

Metro USA (New York) - - Sports - ROBERT CRISCOLA @It­sGood2BeKing sports@metro.us

The 142nd Preak­ness Stakes takes place this Saturday (5 p.m., NBC) at Pim­lico Race Course in Bal­ti­more, Mary­land, with a field of 10 horses.

Chief among them is Ken­tucky Derby win­ner and Brook­lyn Boyz Sta­bles’ Al­ways Dream­ing, who was in­stalled as the 4-5 morn­ing-line fa­vorite.

We’ll take an in­depth look at him and a pair of chal­lengers here to see if we’ll have a shot at an­other Triple Crown cham­pion or if those dreams will be dashed be­fore the horses even ar­rive at Bel­mont Park.

Al­ways Dream­ing (Post po­si­tion: 4, Odds: 4-5)

Todd Pletcher got his sec­ond Derby win two weeks ago and will now at­tempt to win his first ever Preak­ness (0-for-8).

Cu­ri­ously, jockey John Ve­lazquez has also never won the mid­dle jewel of the Triple Crown, though he’s run sec­ond two times.

Al­ways Dream­ing could have a de­cided tac­ti­cal edge in the 1 3/16th-mile Preak­ness with just one true fron­trun­ning ri­val, Con­quest Mo Money, to bat­tle with. Al­ways Dream­ing was able to sur­vive a spir­ited pace duel in the Ken­tucky Derby to win by nearly three lengths while never se­ri­ously threat­ened by run­ner-up Lookin At Lee, who drew post nine for the re­match.

“I’m just very, very pleased with the way he’s come out of the Derby and the way he looks at Pim­lico,” Pletcher told the LA Times ear­lier in the week. “He seems to be proud of him­self and do­ing well.”

Al­ways Dream­ing’s odds will be wholly un­ap­peal­ing but he’s a threat to make it fives­traight wins and walk into the Bel­mont Stakes with a shot at join­ing a select few by win­ning the Triple Crown.

Clas­sic Empire (Post Po­si­tion: 5, Odds: 3-1)

The 2016 Ju­ve­nile Eclipse Award win­ner had a trou­bled road to the Ken­tucky Derby and had a trip that mir­rored his early-year ad­ver­sity in the “Run for the Roses.” He was slammed into soon af­ter the start and was forced at least six-wide into the stretch.

De­spite the hard­ship, Clas­sic Empire and jockey Julien Leparoux man­aged to fin­ish fourth, beaten eight lengths by Al­ways Dream­ing.

Look for him to at least make it a closer con­test this time around.

Con­quest Mo Money (Post Po­si­tion: 10, Odds: 12-1)

Con­quest Mo Money was un­der con­sid­er­a­tion for the Ken­tucky Derby but ul­ti­mately passed, as he would have been re­quired to sub­mit a $200,000 sup­ple­men­tal fee af­ter not be­ing nom­i­nated for the Triple Crown ear­lier in the year.

His lit­tle-known con­nec­tions still ponied up $150,000 to start in the Preak­ness, a sure sign of con­fi­dence.

Con­quest Mo Money will likely be tasked with keep­ing Al­ways Dream­ing hon­est early, but the pace should not be that rapid. He demon­strated good stamina when he re­fused to ca­pit­u­late in the Arkansas Derby un­til the very end af­ter set­ting le­git­i­mate early frac­tions.

He and jockey Jorge Car­reno, who rides in his first ever Triple Crown race, will have to get a bet­ter start from the far out­side post to­day to have a shot at pulling off the up­set. A mi­nor award is more likely for him.

GETTY IMAGES

Al­ways Dream­ing ran away with the Ken­tucky Derby, putting Brook­lyn Boyz Sta­bles on the map.

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