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Kentucky Derby day begins in cold and wet conditions

17 Mai 2017

Trainer Todd Pletcher won the Kentucky Derby for the second time.

After starting in the middle of the pack, jockey John Velazquez got Always Dreaming to the front after six furlongs. Lookin At Lee, jockeyed by Corey Lanerie, made a late push and finished second after he came into the race with 33-1 odds. And who knows, if Gary Stevens does not drop the whip in the stretch, he might have done even better than his third-place finish, beaten one length.

Always Dreaming, who went off at 4.70-to-1, became the fifth straight betting favorite to win the Kentucky Derby.

Pletcher and Always Dreaming will now head to the Preakness Stakes at Baltimore - which includes the Longines Dixie Stakes - in two weeks time on 20 May, where another success would set up a Triple Crown bid in the Belmont Stakes in NY in June. Beyond that, there came a first Derby win with a first Derby horse for the ownership team of Anthony Bonomo and Vinnie Viola, childhood friends from Brooklyn. "Glad it paid off", said Pletcher.

"To me, the Kentucky Derby, everything about it is a thrill".

Irish War Cry, the other co-favorite, finished 10th. Trainer Steve Asmussen exclaimed, "He's the first horse in 20 years to run in the top three from the one hole". Nothing against all the others, but this was the best horse.

The Sport of Kings' newest star, Kentucky Derby-winning colt "Always Dreaming", is owned by two Kings County natives - and they're brimming with borough bravado.

Thunder Snow, the Dubai-based entry, didn't finish.

Velasquez won the Derby for the second time and Pletcher also got his second victory as a trainer, but Saturday was their first as a jockey-trainer duo. After getting clear, Always Dreaming was back on the fence for the duration. I finally get him running at the three-eighths pole and someone wiped out four of us again.

Velazquez, a 45-year-old native of Puerto Rico and a 2012 Racing Hall of Fame inductee, put his horse in the best possible position out of the gate, made his move early in the turn to home and ended up with a bed of roses in the winner's circle. "He really only had one race before this but we'll get them next time".

Earlier this year, the still lightly raced John Shirreffs-trained colt, had been on a nice two-race winning streak.

Last year's Derby victor was Nyquist, who held off a strong surge to the finish by Exaggerator.

Classic Empire, the morning-line favorite and fourth-place finisher in the Derby, was bothered by a swollen right eye Sunday, trainer Mark Casse said, adding if the condition doesn't linger, he will strongly consider a shot at the Preakness.

UAE Derby victor Thunder Snow broke a step slow from the gate and started bucking wildly under jockey Christophe Soumillon, who immediately pulled him up. Pletcher admitted to tears under his sunglasses and said the victory was "very special".

Kentucky Derby day begins in cold and wet conditions