Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
USA | By Kelli Rowe

Always Dreaming, Classic Empire are neighbors in Preakness

Always Dreaming, Classic Empire are neighbors in Preakness

Kentucky Derby victor Always Dreaming will start alongside top rival Classic Empire in Saturday's Preakness, with the oddsmakers favorites expected to stage a superb side-by-side break from the gates. "He ran a terrific race in the Kentucky Derby".

The 2016 Juvenile Eclipse Award victor had a troubled road to the Kentucky Derby and had a trip that mirrored his early-year adversity in the "Run for the Roses".

The 142nd running of the Preakness will be televised by NBC with pre-race coverage beginning at 5 p.m. They had to go all the way back to the drawing board, take him back to a quiet spot in Ocala [Fla.] and start training him up for his final Kentucky Derby prep race.

Always Dreaming's odds will be wholly unappealing but he's a threat to make it five straight wins and walk into the Belmont Stakes with a shot at joining a select few by winning the Triple Crown. Altogether, he'll face nine other horses in the 1 3/16-mile race worth $1.5 million.

Thirteen winners have started from the No. 4 post, most recently Curlin in 2007. Chief among them is Kentucky Derby victor Always Dreaming, who was installed as the 4-5 morning-line favorite. "He's generally a very good horse away from the gate, and we'll just try to come away, establish some position and see what some other horses do". Entries were due Wednesday, when post positions were drawn.

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If Always Dreaming and jockey John Velazquez win Saturday, next up would be the Belmont Stakes on June 10.

The betting favorite has won the Preakness Stakes in 72 of the 141 races, including in two of the last three years. The colt finished fourth after getting bounced around and having a rough early trip in the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago.

"Basically what it does is it keeps the horse's head down, and when the horse pulls, he's not only pulling against the rider's hands, he's also pulling against the girth", Pletcher said.

Classic Empire won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last year, when he was voted 2-year-old male champion. Casse insists the Preakness isnt about revenge, although he likened his horse to Rocky Balboa. Brands (G1) victor, as Always Dreaming was on the muscle again during his 1 1/2-mile gallop over the Pimlico Race Course main track May 18 with exercise rider Nick Bush at the helm. "We'll keep him controlled".

Casse likes the neighboring posts.

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If you can name the last person to both ride and then train a Preakness victor, consider yourself a horse racing expert. On May 12, the runner got a maintenance jog under his belt for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Hence was kind of the "wise guy" horse in the Kentucky Derby going off at 15-1.

Demling has specific recommendations for win, place, show, trifecta and superfecta so you can cover all your bases. He ran at least twelve lengths off the leader in the backstretch, the furthest he had ever trailed in a race. He may have lost the Florida Derby at the draw when he landed post 10 and the race was just dominated by those with zip. Looking at Lee (10/1), Cloud Computing (14/1) and Gunnevera (16/1) round out the thoroughbreds with the best Preakness odds. He will break from the No. 2 hole. He is the prohibitive 4-5 morning line favorite from post 4 in a field of 10.

The pair of Steve-Asmussen-trained colts had flown from Louisville, Kentucky, along with Doug O'Neill-trained Term of Art, who had boarded a plan in Southern California earlier in the day, and Kenny McPeek-trained Senior Investment, who were unloaded from the second van minutes later. Always Dreaming will have no limitations with its speed on a faster, shorter track.

The storied Kentucky stable also has Term of Art, trained by 2012 Preakness victor Doug O'Neill.

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