Sport Preakness notebook: Always Dreaming ready to keep Triple Crown hopes alive

00:22  20 may  2017
00:22  20 may  2017 Source:   The Sports Xchange

Always Dreaming checks into Pimlico's Stall 40 for Preakness

  Always Dreaming checks into Pimlico's Stall 40 for Preakness Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming has made himself right at home at Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course in Stall 40, which has sheltered many of the greatest champions in horse racing history.The bay colt was in excellent spirits Tuesday after traveling from Churchill Downs to Pimlico, where he will spend the next 11 days before running in the Preakness.Always Dreaming was being pampered by assistant trainer Ginny DePasquale, who will be joined by her boss, trainer Todd Plentcher, on Wednesday.DePasquale said: "The horse looks very bright-eyed. He looks very happy."Stall 40 is traditionally filled by the Kentucky Derby winner.

Entries and post positions will be drawn on Wednesday afternoon for the Preakness Stakes (G1) and it appears that Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Always Dreaming will face nine foes as he attempts to keep his Triple Crown hopes alive .

Always Dreaming is ready to run for history. When a fresh face to the Triple Crown arrives on the scene at the Preakness , there is always a degree of interest, with people wondering, "Is this perhaps the horse who can beat the Kentucky Derby victor?"

Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming receives a bath in the stable area after a morning workout in preparation for the 142nd Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on Tuesday.© Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports (file photo) Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming receives a bath in the stable area after a morning workout in preparation for the 142nd Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on Tuesday. Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming completed his preparations for Saturday's 142nd Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in the second leg of thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown.

The 3-year-old colt made a one-mile jog around the Baltimore track Friday morning under the supervision of trainer Todd Pletcher, who said he wanted to give the 4-5 morning line favorite a relaxed day before Saturday's 6:48 p.m. ET post time in the 10-horse field.

New horses among Preakness challenges facing Always Dreaming

  New horses among Preakness challenges facing Always Dreaming After Always Dreaming's win in the Kentucky Derby as the favorite, the colt will be running in the Preakness with a bulls-eye on his back. With a victory, Always Dreaming would head to the Belmont Stakes in New York three weeks later with a shot at winning the Triple Crown. Two years ago, American Pharoah ended a 37-year drought by winning the Triple Crown. Before that, California Chrome in 2014 and I'll Have Another in 2012 followed up their Kentucky Derby victories by winning the Preakness to set up Triple tries. Neither pulled off the feat.The 142nd Preakness is shaping up to have 11 runners.

• Pletcher ready to approach Preakness . • Always Dreaming is Preakness favorite. • Pimlico strains to keep Preakness grip. Jerry is always looking to repeat his 2012 Triple Crown success, when he selected the winning horses for The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes.

American Pharoah trainer Bob Baffert, won his sixth Preakness and gets a fourth crack at the Triple Crown , his first since 2002. Victor Espinoza became the first jockey to be alive to ride three Triple Crown -horses.

Pletcher followed the same workout schedule for Always Dreaming following his victory at Churchill Downs on May 6.

"We got what we were looking for in terms of quiet environment," Pletcher told the Baltimore Sun on Friday of his Derby champion's 10-day workout schedule in Baltimore. "So yeah, I feel good about it. We might have arrived in the same condition if we had stayed at Churchill. But I just felt at the time it was the correct move, and nothing I've seen here has indicated that it wasn't."

Six-time Preakness winner Lukas impressed with Always Dreaming

Six-time Preakness winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who was Todd Pletcher's former boss, joined him to watch Always Dreaming's final jog.

"I was just kind of pumping him up," the 81-year-old Lukas told the Baltimore Sun of Pletcher. "He's done a really beautiful job with this horse. This horse is not easy to train. I've always said that this race, the Derby, the Belmont are always won by guys with experience. His experience is paying off. This horse looks good."

Always Dreaming is 4-5 early favorite for Preakness

  Always Dreaming is 4-5 early favorite for Preakness Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming was made the early 4-5 favorite for the Preakness on Wednesday. Four of his rivals are back to take him on in the second leg of the Triple Crown. Ridden by John Velazquez, Always Dreaming will break from the No. 4 post in the 10-horse field Saturday. Thirteen winners have started from there, most recently Curlin in 2007."It's fine," said Todd Pletcher, noting that Always Dreaming had the No. 4 post in the Florida Derby and No. 5 in the Kentucky Derby, two of his four victories this year. "He's usually a very good horse coming away from the gate.

With a victory, Always Dreaming would head to the Belmont Stakes in New York three weeks later with a shot at winning the Triple Crown . “I’m just trying to focus the two weeks on kind of refueling the tank a little bit, and hopefully he can show us at the Preakness all that he has and be ready to go.”

Pletcher dislikes Preakness , but needs victory to keep Triple Crown hopes alive . Always Dreaming is groomed before his morning exercise two days before the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course Thursday May 18, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Always Dreaming, ridden by Hall of Famer John Velazquez, will break from the fourth post with top challenger Classic Empire right next door at No. 5 for Saturday's race, which will be run under a forecast of near-perfect weather conditions.

Classic Empire, the 3-1 second choice in the morning line, won the Arkansas Derby last month but was jostled while breaking from the 14th post in the 20-horse Kentucky Derby at muddy Churchill Downs and finished fourth as Always Dreaming won by 2 3/4 lengths.

Lukas agrees with Classic Empire is the only horse talented enough to pull off an upset.

"They are the two best horses, but my experience is when a horse has a really rough race in the Derby, which Classic Empire did, where he really didn't get a good trip and things kind of went awry all the way around there, it seems like it's tough for them to overcome in the next one," Lukas said. "He's quality. He's a really good horse. He's in top form as far as I can see. But it may affect him a little bit here."

Todd Pletcher takes sure and steady approach to Preakness

  Todd Pletcher takes sure and steady approach to Preakness The Preakness has never been Todd Pletcher's race. Sure, it's the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. But Pletcher has made a habit of skipping Baltimore in order to beat the pack to his home base of New York after the Kentucky Derby and await the Belmont. The Preakness' position two weeks after the Derby is too soon for Pletcher. He prefers giving his horses more rest between starts. He's 0 for 8 in the race, with his best finish being third with Impeachment in 2000.Of course, it's become incumbent for the trainer of the Derby winner to bring the champ to Pimlico for a shot at making a Triple Crown bid.

Always Dreaming , the colt that galloped to victory in the Kentucky Derby, is the favorite at the 142nd Preakness Stakes on The course record of 1:53 minutes was set by legendary Triple Crown winner Secretariat in 1973. If Saturday goes to plan, he can keep dreaming for a little longer yet.

Triple Crown . Previews, stories, videos, results, leaders lists, points, earnings, pedigrees for Kentucky Derby, Preakness , Belmont Stakes. Lukas: Preakness is Right Path for Gunnevera. Always Dreaming , Royal Mo Continue Training at Pimlico. 2. Lookin At Lee. 3. Recruiting Ready .

Possible Triple crown threat

American Pharoah in 2015 became the 12th Triple Crown winner to capture the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont since Affirmed in 1978 -- a 37-year gap that was the longest in history.

On that day at Belmont Park on June 6, 2015, one of the first people to reach trainer Bob Baffert and congratulate him was Todd Pletcher.

Pletcher showed his respect and Baffert returned it in kind, according to Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde.

"You're going to win one of these," Baffert said to Pletcher after his horse won the Triple Crown.

Two years later, the possibility presents itself for another Triple Crown winner.

If Always Dreaming wins the Preakness, it will be on to New York for the Belmont on June 10, giving Pletcher a shot at making Baffert's 2015 pronouncement come true.

"I've never seen him go into the Preakness with a horse like this," Baffert told Forde of Always Dreaming. "If he has racing luck, I can't see him getting beat."

Classic Empire giving chase

Besides the top two favorites, there are other quality colts in the $1.5 million, 1 3/6-mile race, like Lookin At Lee, a 33-1 Derby longshot who found his footing late and finished second, and Gunnevera, winner of the Grade II the Fountain of Youth in March who finished seventh at Churchill Downs two weeks ago.

Peter Schmuck: 'Dream' team wants to keep running Kentucky Derby champ for the good of the sport

  Peter Schmuck: 'Dream' team wants to keep running Kentucky Derby champ for the good of the sport <p>When American Pharoah followed his historic Triple Crown run in 2015 by racing three more times and ultimately closing his amazing 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.</p>BALTIMORE — When American Pharoah followed his historic Triple Crown run in 2015 by racing three more times and ultimately closing his amazing 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.

Always Dreaming winning the Kentucky Derby (Image: Breeders Cup twitter). Pletcher bullish on Dreaming in Preakness . And Pletcher thinks his charge is perfectly poised to this weekend keep alive the hope that he can achieve the Triple Crown .

With a victory, Always Dreaming would head to the Belmont Stakes in New York three weeks later with a shot at winning the Triple Crown . "I'm just trying to focus the two weeks on kind of refueling the tank a little bit, and hopefully he can show us at the Preakness all that he has and be ready to go."

"It's not a two-horse race," Classic Empire trainer Mark Casse said. "There's some other nice horses in this race. If there is too much concentration (on the two favorites) it could set it up for somebody else."

Casse insisted the Preakness isn't about revenge after Classic Empire's Derby finish and referenced his horse to Rocky Balboa.

"The champ's been knocked down and he's going to come back and try to take back the crown," Casse said. "It's got nothing to do with revenge because Always Dreaming did nothing wrong. He's the champ and we're just going to go after him.

"We want people to watch. If we can't win, I want Always Dreaming to win because this sport is so important to me. It's always nice to have a horse going for the Triple Crown. If we can't win, I hope he does."

Pimlico Race Course needs renovation

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan wants to keep the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore and is willing to considering investing state money in the Pimlico Race Course.

The owner of Pimlico Race Course said earlier this week that the 147-year-old track likely would have to be rebuilt -- at a cost of $300 million to $500 million -- to keep the race there rather than move it to a track in Laurel, Md.

"Governor Hogan has made it clear he wants to see the Preakness stay in Baltimore, where it has attracted visitors from around the country for over 140 years," said Amelia Chasse, a spokeswoman for Hogan. "The governor is committed to working with all involved parties to work out a solution that preserves this tradition while ensuring the most effective and efficient use of taxpayer dollars."

Laurel Park, which runs 150 racing days, is located midway between Baltimore and Washington.

With no Triple Crown in play, Belmont lacks a singular buzz .
Cloud Computing stole the Preakness, and any hope of a Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes. The 13-1 shot did it on six weeks' rest, having skipped the 20-horse roughhouse that is the Kentucky Derby even though he had enough points to get in that race. With another three weeks until the Belmont in New York, Cloud Computing could return to run on his home track."We haven't ruled it out," trainer Chad Brown said Sunday. "We're just going to evaluate the horse this week and probably by next weekend we may have a decision.

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