Derby Winner Always Dreaming Likely to Face Nine Foes in Preakness

Derby winner Always Dreaming will face a field of nine in the Preakness Stakes (G1) on May 20 (Photo credit: Maryland Jockey Club).

The field for the Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico on May 20 is starting to take shape, and Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Always Dreaming will likely face nine foes in the second jewel of racing’s Triple Crown.

Four rivals he beat under the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs appear likely to come back to attempt to turn the tables —Lookin At Lee (second), Classic Empire (fourth). Gunnevera (seventh) and Hence (11th).

Always Dreaming was installed as the 4-5 early wagering favorite for the Preakness at US Racing.

Pletcher is happy with how the Derby champ came out of the race.

“So far I’ve been amazed at how well he came out of the race,” said Pletcher from Churchill Downs Monday morning. “His energy level is great. He walked the shedrow with a purpose this morning, ate all his dinner last night. Really, really pleased with the way he’s come out of it so far.”

The colt won the Run for the Roses by 2 ¾ lengths and returned $11.40 for the win, the fifth consecutive year the betting favorite has won the race.

The colt will ship to Baltimore on Tuesday.

Lookin At Lee got a rail skimming ride and rallied for the runner up spot at odds of 33-1, completing a $2 exacta that returned $336.20. The colt is currently at 9-1 in early Preakness betting at US Racing.

Classic Empire, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) last year and the Arkansas Derby (G1) this year had a rough trip in his fourth-place finish and came out of the race with a minor eye injury. The colt is 11-2 in early Preakness betting.

Casse said on Monday the eye is improving and the plan is to head to Baltimore.

“I watched the replay a couple of times yesterday,” Casse said. “Initially I had blamed McCraken. And it probably was more Irish War Cry than McCraken. McCraken is who got us. Honestly, I think our horse probably got more respect out of that performance (from) anyone who really watched the race, because he overcame a lot just to finish fourth. I’m proud of him, and look forward to trying Always Dreaming again.

Hence was a disappointing 11th with his trainer Steve Asmussen stating he thought the kickback from the muddy surface hampered the colt.

“He was pretty overwhelmed, I think, just by the kickback and stuff,” Asmussen said. “He never leveled off, definitely came out of it feeling good. So I don’t think he ran hard. Off a hard race, spacing is required. But off an easy one, it’s more like a work.”

There are five newcomers to the Triple Crown scene at this time—Wood Memorial third place finisher Cloud Computing, Arkansas Derby runner up Conquest Mo Money, Illinois Derby (G3) winner Multiplier, Lexington Stakes (G3) winner Senior Investment, and Royal Mo, who was third in the Santa Anita Derby (G3) and failed to get in off the also-eligible list in the Kentucky Derby.

Among the newcomers, Cloud Computing is the shortest price at 11-1.

Early Wagering Odds for the Preakness Stakes via US Racing:

Always Dreaming   4-5

Irish War Cry   9-2

Classic Empire   11-2

Lookin At Lee   9-1

Battle Of Midway   9-1

Cloud Computing   11-1

Conquest Mo Money    13-1

Gunnevera   13-1

Malagacy   13-1

Practical Joke   15-1

Hence   TBA



Michael Dempsey’s Preakness Day Report

Michael’s Report includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire Preakness Day card from historic Pimlico. Michael is a Maryland bred and raced horses at Pimlico and knows the circuit from the backstretch to the finish line.

The second jewel of the Triple Crown will be run on Saturday May 21 at Pimlico. The big day of racing has seven supporting stakes including the Sir Barton Stakes, Miss Preakness Stakes (G3), Dixie Stakes (G2), Gallorette Handicap (G3), James W. Murphy Stakes, The Very One Stakes and the Maryland Sprint Stakes (G3).

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