Always Dreaming, Classic Empire are neighbors in Preakness

Lynette Rowe
May 20, 2017

Preakness Stakes contender Classic Empire is washed after a workout at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Wednesday, May 17, 2017.

The victor of the Preakness Stakes gets 60 percent of the $1.5 million purse, - $900,000 - down to 3 percent for fifth.

BALTIMORE (AP) - The two best horses in the Preakness will be eyeball to eyeball coming out of the starting gate. As WUKY's Samantha Lederman reports, this Kentucky Derby victor will be carrying the hopes of breeders Gerry Dilger and Mike Ryan, as well as a large and tight-knit Irish community here in Lexington along with him.

Demling was all over Always Dreaming before the eventual Derby victor even emerged as the favorite. He won his first three races at Sunland Park and finished second in his last two, the Sunland Derby and the Arkansas Derby. They enter deep waters in the Preakness, but the smaller field size and outside post are both positives heading into the race.

The race for three-year-old thoroughbreds, also held over dirt, is shorter than the Derby, at nine-and-a-half furlongs or 1 3/16 miles. Thirteen winners have started from that post, most recently Curlin in 2007.

Always Dreaming gave trainer Todd Pletcher a "little bit of a fright" after getting "fired-up" and producing a series of bucks which led to a stumble during a gallop at Pimlico Monday, but the handler told reporters he was "really, really happy" with his work Tuesday. The horse was doomed by a poor break out of the gate in the Derby, falling too far behind the pack to have much of a chance at coming from behind.

If Always Dreaming and jockey John Velazquez win Saturday, next up would be the Belmont Stakes on June 10. The year prior it was triple crown victor American Pharoah, who won from the rail.

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Always Dreaming, the colt owned by a Brooklyn lawyer that galloped to Kentucky Derby glory earlier this month, will bid to take another step towards greatness at the 142nd Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, Saturday.

The favorite figures to have the most to fear from last year's juvenile male champ, CLASSIC EMPIRE. Casse insists the Preakness isn't about revenge, although he likened his horse to Rocky Balboa. Neither of the two horse racing legends have a win at the second Triple Crown race in their storied careers. "It's got nothing to do with revenge because Always Dreaming did nothing wrong". "We get along so well that it's like we're just one".

Casse likes the neighboring posts.

"Our home base is Belmont, and it's a special race for us", Pletcher said, per Cherwa. "I'm not seeing that with Always Dreaming right now". His connections paid a supplemental entry fee of $150,000 since he wasn't nominated to the Triple Crown.

The other eight horses were in double digits, with Gunnevera the third choice at 14-1. Giacomo got stuck with an outside post in the Preakness and finished 9 ¾ lengths behind the favored Afleet Alex. Many will take Cloud Computing as the new shooter, but he exits a poor overall prep in the Wood Memorial. He will break from the No. 2 hole.

Hence, the 11th-place finisher in the Derby, is listed at 20-1 on the morning line. He's one of the biggest long shots in the field, along with Term of Art (No. 7 post) and Senior Investment (No. 8 post), who are also 30/1, respectively.

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