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Always Dreaming 'On The Engine' During Thursday Morning Gallop

Always Dreaming 'On The Engine' During Thursday Morning Gallop”

1930 - Gallant Fox wins the Kentucky Derby by two lengths over Gallant Knight to give Earl Sande his third Derby win.

Three vans transporting five candidates for Saturday's 2017 Preakness Stakes (G1) arrived at Pimlico Race Course within minutes of each other Tuesday afternoon. If a horse paid $10, we thought we were rich.

The Kentucky Derby two weeks ago was a bit hard to handicap because the race was run on a sloppy track in the rain.

Classic Empire, who was the morning-line favorite for the Derby, but went to post as the 6-1 third betting choice, was slammed between horses leaving the starting gate in the first leg of the Triple Crown.

"You'd love to see Pimlico have the Preakness forever, but you also have to embrace modernization", said Todd Pletcher, trainer of Kentucky Derby victor Always Dreaming.

Hence (Street Boss) quietly snuck back through the backstretch as the media got the latest on Always Dreaming during Pletcher's daily press conference adjacent the Stakes Barn at 8:10 a.m. At left is Lookin at Lee, with jockey Corey Lanerie.

Classic Empire, who will be in the No. 5 post and next to Always Dreaming in the No. 4 post, enters the weekend with the second-best odds at 3/1. "We're just trying to keep it as simple as possible". He is only one of two horses that has posted a triple digit Beyer Speed Figure in his career and he if he posts the same Kentucky Derby Beyer, he'll be a handful.

Pletcher exudes far more pre-Preakness confidence than he did in 2010, when he brought his first Kentucky Derby victor, Super Saver, to Pimlico. It is the second jewel of the Triple Crown, held two weeks after the Kentucky Derby and three weeks before the Belmont Stakes. He finished third in the Wood Memorial in his most recent race, but Brown, last year's Eclipse Award victor for Top Trainer, carries automatic respect. 10, Judge Lanier Racing. Forget seventh-place Derby finisher Gunnevera, who is just a notch below this crowd. "I like it a lot better being 5 and Always Dreaming being 4 than us being 4 and he's 5, because that puts Julien more in the driver's seat". After Wednesday afternoon's draw for post positions, the Kentucky Derby victor remains a strong favorite among the 10 contenders. He ran at least twelve lengths off the leader in the backstretch, the furthest he had ever trailed in a race. He drew the No. 9 post. He was sired by 2010 Preakness victor Lookin At Lucky.

Cloud Computing (Javier Castellano, 12-1): He's another lightly raced colt which may be sitting on a big effort. He lost twice at the tail end of his career and three times overall as a 3-year-old. The last victor of the Preakness without having raced at age 2 was Curlin. So Pletcher is here with Always Dreaming and he's enjoying himself in his customarily restrained way.

"If we can't win, I hope he does".

Classic Empire won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last year, when he was voted 2-year-old male champion. The Derby is a colossal eruption of athleticism and sound, the one day on the racing calendar when 20 horses jostle for position into the first turn like power forwards scrambling to rebound that last shot.

Conquest Mo Money, making his first start since finishing second to Classic Empire in the Arkansas Derby - and supplemented to the Preakness and Belmont for $150,000 - is the pace wild-card.



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