May 26, 2017

Always Dreaming is 4-5 early favorite for Preakness

19 May 2017, 09:53 | Winifred Adams

Patrick Smith Getty Images

Patrick Smith  Getty Images

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

He'll break from gate 4 as the morning line favorite at 4-5. Both of their sires finished second in the Kentucky Derby, Bodemeister (Always Dreaming's dad) in 2012 and Pioneerof the Nile (papa of Classic Empire) in 2009. "I think if they both break running, they may go at each other from the beginning".

Now I know Citation and Secretariat were two of the greatest horses we've ever seen, but can you imagine them winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown on the same day?

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The connections of Kentucky Derby champion Always Dreaming and chief rival Classic Empire are treating Saturday's 10-horse Preakness Stakes like a match-race shootout. “Hes usually a very good horse coming away from the gate.”.

Post positions were drawn Wednesday on a steamy, unseasonable 92-degree day.

If Always Dreaming lives up to that assessment, the colt will have an opportunity to become thoroughbred racing's 13 Triple Crown victor at the Belmont Stakes on June 10.

When American Pharoah followed his historic Triple Crown run in 2015 by racing three more times and ultimately closing his wonderful 3-year-old season with a victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic, owner Ahmed Zayat put untold millions at risk to give more horse racing fans the opportunity to see the sport's newest superstar. The last horse to accomplish the feat was American Pharoah, racing's 12th Triple Crown victor, in 2015. Casse insists the Preakness isn't about revenge, although he likened his horse to Rocky Balboa.

“The champs been knocked down and hes going to come back and try to take back the crown, ” Casse said. Expect Always Dreaming to sit second, as he did in Louisville, with Classic Empire just behind him. "It's just that, in a lot of cases, we felt like our horses need a little more time to recover", Pletcher said.

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Casse likes the neighboring posts.

And while it's hard to say if he really wants to run this far, his pedigree suggests that the Preakness distance is within his capabilities.

Neither Pletcher nor Velazquez has won the Preakness - Always Dreaming will be only the ninth horse Pletcher has run in the race - and that drought continues. "If he wins at Pimlico, I can tell you there won't be five people left in all of Brooklyn when the Belmont comes round".

Always Dreaming and Classic Empire are the only two horses with single-digit odds in the field. He won his first three races at Sunland Park and finished second in his last two, the Sunland Derby and the Arkansas Derby.

He drew the outside post in a field of 10 as a 15-1 shot in the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. There are five newcomers to the Triple Crown - Cloud Computing, Conquest Mo Money, Multiplier, Senior Investment, and Term of Art - and with a field of 10, the Preakness has half the number of runners as the Derby.

While not the most consistent colt, Hence has shown flashes of good form and will be a much bigger price than Lookin at Lee-in fact, he's 20-1 on the morning line.

Multiplier (Joel Rosario, 30-1): He's one of few entering fresh after skipping the Kentucky Derby.

Leaving the final turn as the 100,000-plus roar, Always Dreaming will be two lengths in front of Conquest Mo Money, who quickly drops back. The storied Kentucky stable also has Term of Art, trained by 2012 Preakness victor Doug ONeill. Trainer Steve Asmussen has a great history at Pimlico, too, having won the Preakness with filly Rachel Alexandra in '09 as well as Curlin.

Though the odds maker at Pimlico may not have been impressed, Todd Pletcher, the trainer of Always Dreaming, expects another close race on Saturday.

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