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Always Dreaming, Classic Empire are neighbors in Preakness

19 Mai 2017

Post position isn't as crucial in the Preakness as the Derby, but the last victor from Post 4 was Curlin in 2007.

Always Dreaming is the one to beat in the Preakness Stakes Saturday at Pimlico and nine fearless souls will try to derail the Kentucky Derby victor. Now, it wasn't that bad when Always Dreaming went to the track, because he went to the track at 5:30 this morning.

Pletcher's second Kentucky Derby victor, Always Dreaming, will seek the trainer's first Preakness win and take the next step toward thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown.

The Preakness horses are traditionally saddled on the turf course. Gunnevera, like Classic Empire, had to deal with traffic soon after leaving the starting gate in the Kentucky Derby. Trainer, Todd Pletcher says all systems are ago. "He's sitting on go, and we're going to try to keep him that way for another 48 hours".

I hated Super Saver that day because I thought he was fortunate to get a sloppy track in the Derby and another wonderful rail ride from Calvin Borel.

"He was focused and happy", trainer Mark Casse said.

Always Dreaming won the Kentucky Derby by 2 3/4 lengths over the 1 1/4-mile track in 2 minutes, 3.59 seconds.

With his horse straddling the flawless line between composed and raring to go, he has repeatedly asserted his confidence this week.

Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1977 with Alydar finishing second in each race.

"I think first and foremost, you need talent, and he has that", Pletcher said. Sure, he has never run a poor race but he beat a suspect field in the Illinois Derby. "You never want to be overconfident, but I feel very confident about the way he's coming into it".

There is a sharp decline in odds after the co-favorites, and should either Always Dreaming or Classic Empire finish in the top two, it would mostly be consistent with recent history. 6, Antonio Sano. 7, Doug O'Neill.

Hence (Florent Geroux, 20-1): I'll give him a pass for not taking well to the off track at Churchill Downs.

Let's start with the biggest name on the roster - Always Dreaming.

Their prized colt prevailed by 2 ¾ lengths in the Derby, leaving him undefeated as a 3-year-old. Always Dreaming eased into his 3-year-old campaign by winning a maiden race against overmatched rivals at Tampa Bay Downs.

"He said 'Perfect, ' so that's my quote", Blasi noted with a laugh.

"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.

Classic Empire is the clear second choice.

The field, from the pole, with jockeys: Multiplier (Joel Rosario), Cloud Computing (Javier Castellano), Hence (Florent Geroux), Always Dreaming (Velazquez), Classic Empire (Julien Leparoux), Gunnevera (Mike Smith), Term of Art (Jose Ortiz), Senior Investment (Channing Hill), Lookin At Lee (Corey Lanerie), Conquest Mo Money (Jorge Carreno).

"Part of the things I've been saying about racing is, the stars don't stay around long because the pressure of money and things like that", Bonomo said, "and I think that's the disconnect with people because people get connected to a horse and then he's in the breeding shed".

Always Dreaming, Classic Empire are neighbors in Preakness