Scott Blasi, assistant trainer for Steve Asmussen, talks about the two Preakness Stakes entrants, Lookin' At Lee and Hence, following the post position draw at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Wednesday, May 17, 2017. "Following his thrilling Kentucky Derby run just a few weeks ago, we are more excited than ever to officially announce our support for the remainder of his racing career".
Since 1983, the Preakness victor has emerged from the Derby in 30 of 33 runnings.
A 10-horse field will race 1 3/16ths of a mile at Pimlico in Baltimore, Maryland, in the second leg of U.S. flat racing's Triple Crown, with Always Dreaming as a 4-5 favorite and starting from the fourth gate with Classic Empire, second choice at 3-1, just to the outside. He may work out the ideal stalking trip and save ground racing behind front runners Conquest Mo Money and Always Dreaming.
However, the Preakness is anything but an easy race.
Hence was kind of the "wise guy" horse in the Kentucky Derby going off at 15-1. The Derby was run on June 9, followed seven days later by the Preakness. Gunnerva will be ridden for the first time by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith who won the Preakness back in 1993 aboard Prairie Bayou.
Conquest Mo Money was not nominated to the Triple Crown.
Following the same routine as he did leading into the Kentucky Derby, Pletcher said he would take the draw reins off Always Dreaming May 19 and just have the dark bay colt jog Friday morning in his last trip to the track before Saturday's classic.
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And the Preakness, while more corporate over the last decade, remains the people's race. Even with a good trip, it will be tough to make up almost nine lengths, and at 3-1, he'll be no bargain. He's drawn rave reviews from his four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer. American Pharoah won the Belmont to complete the Triple Crown.
"If the situation presents itself and he's third or fourth or even fifth behind horses, I don't think it'll be an issue", Pletcher said.
Encouraged by Classic Empire's impressive demonstration of resolve in the Derby, Casse is anxious for his 2016 champion 2-year-old to do battle with Always Dreaming in the Preakness. "Tank seems full. He seems eager to go". But he still made up ground late in the race to finish seventh. Always Dreaming will have no limitations with its speed on a faster, shorter track. He gave Super Saver a breeze - or timed workout - between the first two Triple Crown races.
So, when Always Dreaming lined up for the Florida Derby on April 1, he had exactly zero points toward a berth in the Kentucky Derby.
So ready that the colt tried to buck off his exercise rider at the start of a 1.5-mile gallop at Pimlico Race Course on Monday, causing himself to stumble. "So I think I'll be able to keep it going". We're not overthinking it. "We just want a fair shot at him".
Anthony Bonomo, who grew up in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, N.Y., and his wife, MaryEllen, got involved in thoroughbred racing as owners in 2006, when they purchased two horses that raced under the banner of Brooklyn Boyz Stable. It was quiet around Pimlico last week, when Always Dreaming practiced standing in the starting gate and visiting the paddock area where he will be saddled indoors on Saturday.
"I loved the quality of life in Oswego", Bellhouse said.