Published: Wed, May 17, 2017
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Always Dreaming storms to Kentucky Derby win

Always Dreaming storms to Kentucky Derby win

Given all the high-priced horse flesh in his barn, it was viewed as a bit of a disappointment that his only Kentucky Derby victory came with Super Saver in 2010. The Swiss watch brand awarded Always Dreaming's owners, trainer and jockey with elegant Longines Conquest Classic Collection timepieces in front of the enthusiastic spectators gathered at Churchill Downs.

Always Dreaming, who became the favorite nearly as soon as the windows opened on the Derby Thursday, has not lost a race since breaking his maiden in his third outing, which was his first try at two turns. Battle of Midway finished third.

For context of the great career whoosh of Always Dreaming, the latest Kentucky Derby victor, consider that his first win came January 25, later than any horse who ultimately would become draped in roses since Brokers Tip in 1933, who was the only horse to break his maiden in the Derby.

The next race in the Triple Crown series is May 20 - the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.

"We have so much success in the past and we haven't won the Derby (together)". He led in the middle of the first straightaway and was in the top-2 until late.

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"He felt OK but he was struggling with the racetrack early on". "I felt like we were losing ground", said Pletcher, who opted to swap Always Dreaming's regular work rider, Adele Bellinger for Nick Bush and added a pair of draw reins to keep the colt in hand. Irish War Cry angled in at the start, compromising the chances of those inside of him: Tapwrit, McCracken and Classic Empire. No other horses threatened him down the stretch and Velazquez furiously pumped his right arm as they crossed the finish line.

Always Dreaming wins the 143rd Kentucky Derby! Thunder Snow did not finish the race but it was not a result of a health issue.

Always Dreaming is owned by a six-way partnership and is trained by Todd Pletcher.

Bonomo's wife, MaryEllen, offered up Always Dreaming's name because of her proclivity for thinking big.

Velazquez received his second riding trophy with Always Dreaming. "From then on we sat there until the quarter pole when I asked him to run". The Godolphin runner started bucking shortly after the start, almost dislodging jockey Christophe Soumillon and refused to get involved in the race.

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The Florida Derby victor and Kentucky Derby favorite raced right behind the early speed, shifted out entering the stretch turn to take the lead and brought rider John Velazquez home without a spot of mud on his silks despite a sloppy track.

Lookin At Lee stayed on to claim second place with Battle Of Midway sticking on for third with Always Dreaming winning by two and three-quarter lengths as he took his unbeaten record in 2017 to four. Pletcher admitted to tears under his sunglasses and said the victory was "very special". Jockey John Velazquez also won the Kentucky Derby for the second time, winning previously on Animal Kingdom in 2011.

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor said: "We will closely monitor him over the next 24 hours to ensure that he is okay". "He really only had one race before this but we'll get them next time".

Classic Empire, victor of the 2016 Breeders' Cup Juvenile and the morning line favorite, was jostled at the start.

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