Preakness Stakes Preparations begin for Derby Winner Always Dreaming

Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming came out of the race well, and trainer Todd Pletcher is shipping him to Pimlico this morning in pursuit of Preakness victory for the second jewel of the Triple Crown. A group of what is locally known as “new shooters” will take their run at the Derby champ, along with some familiar foes from the Kentucky Derby.

Jockey John Velazquez, atop Always Dreaming #5, celebrates with trainer Todd Pletcher after winning the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs

The early shipping is to provide a peaceful environment for the colt who proved a headstrong handful while training at Churchill Downs. The trainer has decided to give the champion almost two weeks to adjust to Pimlico. Pletcher said Always Dreaming will gallop daily at Pimlico rather than a harder, timed workout.

“Looking at what the options are, at Pimlico, there’s generally not a lot of horses training there,” Pletcher said Sunday following his Derby dream with Always Dreaming. “I think it will be a quiet environment, give us time to get him settled in and if we have to make any adjustments we’ll have time to do that.”

Always Dreaming ran through a wet and soggy track to win the Kentucky Derby by 2 3/4 lengths on Saturday, giving trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez their second victories in the race but their first together. Pletcher was excited and impressed with Always Dreaming’s Run for the Roses, and also impressed with how his Bodemeister colt came out of the race.

“So far I’ve been amazed at how well he came out of the race,” said Pletcher at Churchill Downs Monday morning before taking a scheduled flight to New York later in the day. “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.”

Pimlico officials said as many as three other Derby competitors are potentially in for the middle jewel of the Triple Crown — runner-up Lookin At Lee; Classic Empire, who finished fourth; and Gunnevera, who was seventh.

Plenty of “new shooters” will fire in the Preakness at Pimlico.  Among them: Royal Mo, who just missed drawing into the Derby field; Conquest Mo Money, second in the Arkansas Derby, Lexington Stakes winner Senior Investment; Illinois Derby winner Multiplier and Wood Memorial third Cloud Computing.

Irish trainer Aidan O”Brien has nominated two horses to the Preakness including Lancaster Bomber. That horse was second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, fourth in the UAE Derby on the Meydan dirt and a good fourth, beaten just 1 1/2 lengths by some excellent Irish, English and French 3-year-olds in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.

 

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