2017 Preakness Stakes Horse Profile for Always Dreaming

Always Dreaming Career Statistics

Starts: 6

Wins: 4

Places: 1

Shows: 1

Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings: $2,224,800

Owner: Brooklyn Boyz Stables, Teresa Viola Racing Stables

Trainer: Todd Pletcherr

Jockey: John Velazquez

Pedigree: Bodemeister – Above Perfection, by In Excess

Recent Finish: 1st, Kentucky Derby, G1 (5/6/17)

Notable Wins: Kentucky Derby, Florida Derby, G1 (4/1/17)

Always Dreaming won the Kentucky Derby impressively running along the front end and finishing strong down the lane. Trainer Todd Pletcher is pleased with how the Bodemeister colt came out of the Derby, and he’ll be the clear favorite to win the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes.

Always Dreaming shipped to Pimlico early and Pletcher said his colt was “fired up” as he took to the track early this week and then galloped out smooth and strong to complete a 1 1/2 mile work.  Always Dreaming handled the Churchill Downs track well and then went on to an impressive 1 1/4 mile Kentucky Derby win. He’s the only horse in the Preakness field to win at 1 1/4 miles along with two races at 1 1/8 miles.

Always Dreaming has proven speed with push-button acceleration and versatility, and he has shown the ability to extend down the stretch in winning the Kentucky Derby and Florida Derby. Now Always Dreaming will have to hold off some new shooters and fresher horses in the Preakness, where the 1 3/16 miles will suit him just fine as he tries to make it 5-for-5 in 2017.

This year’s Preakness field appears to lack early speed. Always Dreaming and Conquest Mo Money are the two horses that should be on or near the lead, but neither has been on the early lead in any of their races. However without fast fractions or a head-to-head speed duel, the race should set up very well for Always Dreaming. Jockey John Velazquez should have plenty of horse left as they turn for home in the Preakness Stakes.

2017 Preakness Conquest Mo Money

Conquest Mo Money To Enter Preakness

Two new shooters have already emerged for the 2017 Preakness Stakes. Conquest Mo Money will join the fray along with Doug O’Neill’s Term of Art. The former is a legitimate contender for the title while there is more uncertainty about the latter. Fresh legs have a habit of spoiling Triple Crown bids, so this is pretty big news.

Conquest Mo Money was a bit of a curious scratch from the Kentucky Derby. The often run colt competed in four stakes races this year, finishing with a 2-2-0 record overall and generating $508,900 in earnings for the Judge Lanier Racing group that owns him. This son of Unlce Mo finished second at the Sunland Derby before heading to the Arkansas Derby where he also finished as a runner-up. The absolutely brutal homestretch, where he fended off Malagacy but wasn’t able to edge Classic Empire, was telling of how competitive Conquest Mo Money actually is.

Tom and Sandy McKenna are the leading owners in New Mexico, and have ponied up the $150,000 late entry fee for new shooters to get Conquest Mo Money in the running. Obviously, the couple is excited to be making a splash in American Classics.

“It’s a dream come true. I never thought I would be here,” Tom McKenna beamed. “Everybody dreams about it that gets in the horse business, whether you have one horse, two horses, or three horses.”

Term of Art will also enter the Preakness as a new shooter but isn’t much of a threat overall. He last ran 7th in the Santa Anita Derby just after a third place finish in the San Felipe. Even still, Term of Art is a son of Tiznow with considerable pedigree and O’Neill thinks the effort is definitely worth the gamble. “We think he’s a talented colt who deserves a chance in this big race,” O’Neill admitted. “We think he has classic-type ability and we’re going to roll the dice.”

Conquest Mo Money has a much better chance of impacting the results of the 2017 Preakness, which will run on Saturday, May 20th. His convincing showing in the Arkansas Derby is proof that he has the stones to go hoof-to-hoof with a champion. Trainer Miguel Hernandez will have his work cut out for himself to prepare this contender over the next ten days.


Illinois Derby Offers Preakness Potential for Contenders

Hawthorne Hosts $250,000 Illinois Derby

Saturday’s $250,000 Grade III Illinois Derby returns to Hawthorne Race Course after a 1-year hiatus as management secured its purse funding. While the race will not produce any Kentucky Derby entries, it is certainly one to watch for Preakness Stakes candidates.

Hawthorne management has moved the race to an evening time slot, and a credible and competitive seven-horse field will showcase some promising 3-year-olds looking to make the Preakness Stakes their next stop.

Hedge Fund (3-1) set the blistering pace before finishing 3rd in the Sunland Derby (G3) in New Mexico the end of March. The Super Saver colt trained by Todd Pletcher, who has won this race four times, will more likely be in stalking position behind Stand and Cheer (8-1) and perhaps St. Louis Guy (6-1) as the field turns for home in the 1 1/8 mile race.

It’s Your Nickel (6-1) won the John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park and finished 6th in the Grade I Blue Grass at Keeneland just two weeks ago. He’s the only stakes winner in field, but none have won a graded race. The closer to watch is Hollywood Handsome (4-1), who rallied from last to finish 4th  Inthe Grade II Louisiana Derby, just 3 lengths back of Girvin, who tops the Kentucky Derby points list.

Mr. Misunderstood (7-2) can also close and he’s won three in a row and progressed in each race. Perhaps that’s why trainer Brad Cox, who wins at a 24% rate with shippers, has entered him here despite two of those wins coming over the turf at the Fair Grounds and the other on a sloppy track.

Multiplier (9-2) breaks from the rail and has speed, but the distance and step up are questions to be answered.

Watch the Illinois Derby with an eye towards the Preakness Stakes. Same with the main local prep for the Preakness when a small field of five enter the starting gate for Saturday’s $125,000 Federico Tessio Stakes at Laurel Park.

Race 5: April 22 Illinois Derby (G3) at Hawthorne Racecours, three-year-olds, one and one eighth miles on the dirt, post time 6:17pm CDT

Preakness Weekend Offers $100,000 Trainer Bonus

Maryland Jockey Club Adds $100,000 Trainer Bonus to Preakness Weekend

Preakness Stakes weekend features the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 20. A total of 15 stakes races worth $3.7 million will be run on May 19-20, and the Maryland Jockey Club has added to the big weekend with a $100,000 bonus to trainers.

The top 6 trainers that accumulate the most points by running a minimum of five horses in stakes races on Preakness Weekend will be awarded prize money from the $100,000 bonus pool provided by the Maryland Jockey Club.

1st place: $50,000

2ne place: $25,000

3rd place: $12,000

4th place: $7,000

5th place: $4,000

6th place: $2,000

Points are awarded on a 10-7-5-3 scale for finishing 1st through 4th, with 1 point earned for each starter in a stakes race.

In addition to the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (G1) on May 20, additional stakes races that day include:

– $250,000 Longines Dixie (G2)

– $150,000 Maryland Sprint (G3)

– $150,000 Gallorette

– $200,000 Chick Lang

– $100,000 Sir Barton

– $100,000 James W. Murphy

– $100,000 The Very One.

The May 19 Program is headlined by:

– $350,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2)

– $300,000 Pimlico Special (G3)

Last year, Dale Romans won the top prize with 34 points.

In addition to a great weekend of racing at Pimlico, check out all the great events surrounding Preakness weekend.

1999 Preakness Stakes Winner Charismatic Dies

Charismatic was Duel Classic Winner of Preakness and Kentucky Derby

Charismatic, the 1999 Horse of the Year who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, has died. The 21-year-old stallions passing was announced Feb. 19 by Old Friends president Michael Blowen.

“Right now, everyone is pretty much inconsolable,” said Blowen. “Last night, at 6:30, he was fine. He was a really tough horse and he deserved a much longer retirement. But none of us, unfortunately, has a magic wand. Everyone at Old Friends takes solace from the few great months that this great Champion gave us.”

Charismatic was a rags to riches story, winning just 2 of his first 10 races including a claiming race at Santa Anita in Feb., 1999 after a horse was disqualified for causing interference in the stretch. Charismatic ran fourth in the Santa Anita Derby, and just two weeks later he won his first stakes race at Keeneland in the Lexington Stakes, the last-chance race to secure a spot in the Kentucky Derby.

Charismatic would pull a shocker at 31-1 odds to win the Kentucky Derby, and then rallied again to win the Preakness Stakes at 8-1. The late jockey Chris Antley was aboard for the rides, including his bid to win the Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes. But Charismatic’s run to glory and his career ended that day, as the chestnut colt suffered multiple fractures in his left front leg just a few strides before the wire. He finished 3rd in the Belmont, but jockey Chris Antley may have saved his life following the finish. Antley dismounted and held up Charismatic‘s injured left front leg off the ground, until doctors and emergency personnel arrived. The injuries ended Charismatic’s career.

Charismatic entered stud at Lane’s End in 2000 and stood there for three seasons before relocating to Japan in 2002. He sired 374 starters and 265 winners for progeny earnings of more than $44.5 million. He returned to the United States from the JBBA Shizunai Stallion Station in Japan on December 4, 2016, and was pensioned at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Georgetown, KY.

Charismatic’s trainer, Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lucas, saw him in December.

“The sad part is that he was doing so well,” Lukas said. “They made such an effort to get him home. And when I went out and looked at him I couldn’t believe the condition of him. He was in beautiful shape. We spent the day out there with him and took pictures and everything and it looked like it was going to be forever. But you never can predict these things, and they don’t know, I think, really what happened yet.

“He was a part of our career – a big part of it,” Lukas continued. “I really loved that horse. I was very fond of him. He was a knockout looker. When you get one that’s such an overachiever – I really thought that he might end up in the claiming ranks his entire career and the next thing he’s going for the Triple Crown – it was just a joy to be around him.”

Charismatic earned the 1999 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old colt, as well as Horse of the Year honors, and retired with five wins from 17 starts and earnings of $2,038,064. His sire, Summer Squall, was the winner of the 1990 Preakness Stakes, and was euthanized in 2009.

Nyquist and Company Ready for Preakness

Tomorrow is the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), and Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner/Triple Crown hopeful Nyquist is good to go after another day of training. Since arriving at Pimlico Race Course days after his Derby win, the undefeated and calm Nyquist has been in training mode preparing to take down the second leg of the Triple Crown.

Yesterday morning was Nyquist’s final pre-race gallop and his trainer Doug O’Neill was pleased with the session under exercise rider Jonny Garcia. Nyquist hit the track at around 8:30 AM EST with assistant trainer Jack Sisterson in company on Satire the pony. A loose horse on the track caused a disturbance, but he was quickly apprehended.

“We’re very happy,” said O’Neill. “Nyquist had great energy and looked real loose, and he galloped really well. So we’re very, very happy the way the morning went. Tomorrow’s going to be a very easy morning. We’re feeling very optimistic about Saturday. He was pretty good before the Derby and he’s pretty good now. …We had five weeks to prepare from the Florida Derby to the Kentucky Derby, now it’s a quick turnaround, but he’s showing all signs that he’s good as ever.”

“I’m very, very optimistic,” said jockey Mario Gutierrez. “Watching him gallop today, it’s hard not to get confident. We’re going into the race with a lot of confidence. I have nothing but great memories from Balitmore and the Preakness in 2012. Being able to come back with the kind of horse that I’m coming back with, it’s a lot of joy. I’m coming here with a heavy favorite, and that makes me really happy.”

Gun Runner

Gun Runner Officially Out For Preakness

The horse with the most points from the derby trail will not be running in the second leg of the Triple Crown. Steven Asmussen and the connections for Gun Runner have decided that the Louisiana Derby winner will forgo the Preakness Stakes, which is unfortunate for a field that is already heavy at the top without much meat in the middle.

“We’re going to pass on the Preakness,” Asmussen said by teleconference. “We’re going to continue to train at Churchill and plan on a serious summer of 3-year-old races with him. He’s been in tremendous physical condition going into the derby and coming out of it, and we expect for him to continue to physically develop.”

This also hints that Gun Runner is likely to skip the Belmont Stakes as well.

The Kentucky Derby itself was a marvelous effort for the son of Candy Ride. Heading in to the final turn, Gun Runner had done what he’d always done by finding the best line through traffic. He showed at third while posting as the third-favorite in a race that eventually went chalk. Even fourth place mention Mohaymen was listed as such on the board before the race went off. If you’ve been hiding under a rock, Nyquist and Exaggerator finished first and second.

Those two will wage war in the 2016 Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 21st in what’s become the three-year old rivalry to watch. Many people had elected to back Gun Runner as a special, outside shot considering how well we picked out lines at both the Risen Star Stakes and the Louisiana Derby, both run at Fair Grounds. Weaving in-between other competitors isn’t an easy trait to find in a horse, and while Gun Runner may not have true championship speed, that talent alone will make him a strong breeding choice for many looking to produce a contender.

For now, it’s a wait and see game with Gun Runner as he rests up from a glorious derby performance. In the mean time, the horse’s he lost out to at Churchill Downs will take center stage yet again without the threat of this talented gem.


Nyquist Preps For Preakness

Preakness Next For Kentucky Derby Winner Nyquist

The media hype and momentum moves to Pimlico where Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist will look to improve to 9-for-9 in his career. Nyquist was impressive again in winning the Kentucky Derby while posting a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 103.

“He’s still undefeated,” said Kiaran McLaughlin, who trained fourth-place Mohaymen. “He’s a star.”

Nyquist arrives in Baltimore today to prepare for the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown. He’ll be a big favorite despite an expected strong field of challenges both from the Kentucky Derby and newcomers ready to pounce at the Preakness.

But the Preakness is another opportunity for Nyquist to display his talent and versatility. He’s shown he has enough early speed to go to the front, or cooperate enough under jockey Mario Gutierrez if the pace is too quick.

Nyquist will enter the Preakness as the first undefeated Derby winner with eight victories since Majestic Prince in 1969.

“If he was a human athlete, we’d celebrate him as a superstar,” trainer Doug O’Neill said. “He’s just an amazing super-horse.”

Gamblers agree, as they bet Nyquist down to a heavy 2-1 favorite in the 20 horse field at the Kentucky Derby. Gamblers bet $192.6 million on the Kentucky Derby card and $124.7 million on the Derby itself. With an expected field of 10-12 horses in the Preakness, bettors will be parlaying their profits at Pimlico and counting on Nyquist’s speed to carry them to another victory in the Preakness Stakes.

Nyquist’s latest and greatest triumph at Churchill Downs was the fourth time in five years that a horse that trained in California has won the Kentucky Derby. And the three that preceded Nyquist in that span — I’ll Have Another (2012), California Chrome (2014) and American Pharoah (2015) — also won the Preakness Stakes.

In less than two weeks, a fantastic weekend of racing will feature 15 stakes races at Pimlico, highlighted by the Preakness Stakes May 21. Nyquist and his connections hope the momentum will continue to build with a Preakness win setting up another potential Triple Crown winner.

2016 Preakness Stakes field

2016 Preakness Stakes Field Probables

The obvious leader on the board will be Nyquist, who ran an outstanding race against a competitive field to win the Kentucky Derby as the favorite. Despite allowing for a large field, the 2016 Preakness Stakes field is likely to be ten or less. The 1 3/16th mile race has previously been won by the Kentucky Derby for the past two years.

The runner-up at Churchill Downs this past weekend will likely toss his name in to the hat. Exaggerator ran an absolutely outstanding race but was no match for the sheer speed of Nyquist down the stretch. He fought hard to rally past Gun Runner, who also seems likely for the 2016 Preakness Stakes field.

Recent Kentucky Derby hopefuls such as Lani and Suddenbreakingnews, who finished 9th and 5th respectively, are also going to try and topple Nyquist in the second leg of the Triple Crown.

Sharp Azteca is also pointed towards the Preakness Stakes field after a win at the Pat Day Mile, which was part of the Kentucky Derby undercard. Fourth place finisher, Fellowship, is also leaning towards taking part in the second leg of the Triple Crown. The Mark Casse trainee finished third at the Holy Bull, Fountain of Youth and the Florida Derby before landing fourth at the Pat Day Mile.

New shooters are also expected for the race. Laoban and Cherry Wine were both slotted as alternates for the Kentucky Derby but never made the gate since all of the originally nominated horses made the call. Lexington Stakes winner, Collected, is also expected to enter the race after missing the derby. Uncle Lino will also likely enter after winning the California Chrome stakes. Awesome Speed is another probable for the 2016 Preakness Stakes field.

The mystery of the race seems to already be Stradivari, who won an allowance at Keeneland but has yet to compete in a stakes race.

“We’re very excited that the Derby winner and a couple others from the race are coming to the Preakness,” said Georgeanne Hale, racing secretary for the Maryland Jockey Club. “It looks like we’re going to have good field sizes and great weather. All 15 stakes Preakness weekend look to be coming together and right now it looks like two fantastic days of racing.”

The 2016 Preakness Stakes field will hit Pimlico Racecourse on May 21st in an attempt to derail Nyquist’s bid for the Triple Crown.

Maryland Racing Commission is moving forward with plans to update Pimlico

Maryland Racing Commission To Update Pimlico

Pimlico Racetrack has long been the site of the Preakness Stakes, but it is also the target of scrutiny from many angles. The overlaying problem has been the conditions of the facility, which desperately require an upgrade. The Maryland Racing Commission is ensuring that this happens sooner rather than later.

Chairman John McDaniel will oversee a a two phase plan that will allow developers and authorities to properly determine what needs to be done. “In my judgment, this is probably one of the most important items we’ll be engaged with going forward,” McDaniel said. In a unanimous vote on April 19th, the Maryland Racing Commission handed full power in this matter over to McDaniel.

After the assessment is complete, the commission will move towards discussing the best course of action to re-develop and update Pimlico Racecourse. This process is costing $280,000 and is drawing financial support from the Maryland Racing Commission, Maryland Stadium Authority and the Maryland Jockey Club. It’s obvious that the state’s governing bodies are intent on maintaining Pimlico’s status as one of the premier racetracks in the country.

The stadium authority remains the most important component of all this. They have been responsible for the upkeep and prosperity of all the major stadiums in the state, including the M&T Bank Stadium (NFL’s Baltimore Ravens) and Camden Yards (MLB’s Baltimore Orioles). The presence of the stadium authority within this process bodes well for Pimlico Racetrack and its future.

Fears have recently persisted that the Maryland Racing Commission was looking to transplant the Preakness Stakes from Pimlico to another destination, namely Laurel Park, which is also undergoing a massive renovation. Instead, the intention seems to be much broader and less petty. Using the remainder of the 2016 season (and a portion of 2017) to update Pimlico seems like the priority, as it will keep the Preakness where it belongs.

Instead, the Laurel Park upgrades look as though they’re part of a bid to acquire the Breeders’ Cup World Championships somewhere down the line. It’s a lofty goal for the Maryland Racing Commission, especially given that the world championships run in early November.

Still, all of these moves prove that the Maryland Racing Commission is intent on improving the stature of the state within the sport of thoroughbred racing.