Once I was going forward, for the first time, I was happy where I was. A post-race examination found no injury.
Some of the fresh horses that are being considered for the Preakness include Conquest Mo Money, who was second in the Arkansas Derby; Senior Investment, victor of the Lexington Stakes; Multiplier, victor of the Illinois Derby; and Cloud Computing, third in the Wood Memorial.
Having saddled Super Saver to win the Run for the Roses seven years ago, Pletcher has traveled this path before.
“It does mean a lot”, said Velazquez, 45.
“We’ve had so much success in the past, but had never won it together”, Velasquez said. Trainer Todd Pletcher won the Kentucky Derby for the second time.
For the 2017 Derby, artificial intelligence learned the same lesson that has been beating up dyed-in-the-wool handicappers for over a century: horse racing is the most unpredictable sport on the planet.
Others being considered for the Preakness include non-Derby starters Cloud Computing, Royal Mo, Conquest Mo Money, Senior Investment and Multiplier. Saturday’s payday increased his earnings to $2,284,700 with a record of 6-4-1-1 with two Grade I victories in as many attempts.
It is a four-letter word, and only one person is going to say he liked the rain in horse racing: the victor. “But in 17 years we have two wins, two seconds and three thirds so it’s become a little more respectable now”. Attendance of 158,070, was the seventh highest attendance figure in track history. “We came into the stretch and got behind a couple of tiring horses, but he came back well and move on to the next race”. We should note that among the four longshots the swarm recommended keeping an eye on, Battle of Midway was one of them.
Always Dreaming paid $11.40, $7.20 and $5.80.
But that combination, along with Always Dreaming’s three straight victories in five career starts, helped the horse surpass Classic Empire as the 9-2 favorite Saturday morning.
As for Canadian-bred State of Honor, after setting the early pace, he faded to be the last horse to finish.
The top of the board also features McCraken (+600), Irish War Cry (+600), Gunnevera (+1200) and Girvin (+1600). I got a good position early and then he relaxed. “He did it himself from there”.
“The first order of business is to make sure he came out of it well, and the second order of business is how can you get there and what’s the best approach to getting to the Preakness”, Pletcher said. “As soon as he got on the backside he was going real comfortable”.
Always Dreaming, a son of 2012 runner-up Bodemeister, is owned by a six-way partnership.
He took three tries to get his first win, accomplishing that on January 25 at Tampa Bay Downs, then moved to Gulfstream Park where he won an allowance race against ordinary competition. Next stop is the Preakness Stakes, on May 20, before the final Belmont Stakes run on June 10.
It was another five lengths back to Battle of Midway, who followed Always Dreaming around the track on the inside and held on for third.
“Everybody back in Brooklyn, this one’s for you!” jubilant co-owner Vincent Viola said in the winner’s circle. “To me, I felt I really needed that second one, you know?” he said.
NBC reported a few minutes after the race that a preliminary examination of Thunder Snow showed nothing out of the ordinary. Saeed bin Suroor’s charge was quickly pulled up by Christophe Soumillon but was checked over by on-course vets and was fine.
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor said: “We will closely monitor him over the next 24 hours to ensure that he is okay. Our first priority is his welfare”, he said.