Always Dreaming is the one to beat in the Preakness Stakes Saturday at Pimlico and nine brave souls will try to derail the Kentucky Derby winner.
The $1.5 million Preakness will be run at a mile and three sixteenths and all the entrants will carry 126 pounds.
Always Dreaming is the one to beat in the Preakness because he seems to be thriving as he tries to parlay on his Derby success. On May 12, the runner got a maintenance jog under his belt for trainer Todd Pletcher. The weather has been a problem but the trainer can adapt, Pletcher: “He was full of himself, feeling great. I’m really happy where he is energy level-wise. We’ll just sit around and worry about the forecast and go from there. This whole two weeks in between the Derby and the Preakness is all about just refueling and keeping him healthy and happy. Right now he looks like he’s very, very happy.”
There is really a paucity of speed in the Preakness and that is another reason Always Dreaming is the one to beat. Always Dreaming is a star and he proved it when sent a route of ground. He has never been worse than second early routing on and he figures to be in similar territory Saturday. Always Dreaming’s first try vs. winners was slow but the track at Gulfstream was just dead that day. He is only one of two horses that has posted a triple digit Beyer Speed Figure in his career and he if he posts the same Kentucky Derby Beyer, he’ll be a handful. Jockey Jorge Velazquez will put this runner into the race early and then play it by ear as the race unfolds.
Multiplier will break from the rail. He figures to be longshot in the 30 or 40-1 variety. Sure, he has never run a poor race but he beat a suspect field in the Illinois Derby. The place horse in this runner’s maiden breaker has not race back. The show horse in the diploma run ran sixth of nine in his next race but did graduate May 7 at Gulfstream with a 76 Beyer. This racer already has repaid his $62,000 purchase price but could be left with a lot to do as jockey Joel Rosario takes the reins.
Cloud Computing is one of the Preakness new shooters that is interesting. He’s in the good hands of Chad Brown and that is an endorsement it itself. He has never run a bad race in his three career starts and he was over seven lengths clear of his nearest rival in the Gotham Stakes in only his third start. The sophomore was wide in his last race when beaten by Irish War Cry in the Wood Memorial. The $200,000 purchase has trained fast since that race including a best of the morning workout on Sunday May 7. As far as the pedigree is concerned, Cloud Computing has some things going for him. His dam earned almost $250,000 and if you delve into the blood, Halo America becomes visible. That mare took the Grade 1 Apple Blossom and banked over $1.4 million. Always Dreaming is the one to beat but this runner should offer at least 10-1 value.
Hence was kind of the ‘wise guy’ horse in the Kentucky Derby going off at 15-1. He did run well when he shipped to Sunland but some may not have adored that surface. In retrospect, the Sunland Derby may not have been that bad a prep. Irap exited the race to win the Blue Grass and Conquest Mo Money returned to run second in Classic Empire’s Ark Derby win. The third finisher at Sunland Hedge Fund was nipped next out in the Illinois Derby.
Classic Empire had some scrapes on his legs after the Derby and his right eye was swollen because of the kickback form the sloppy track at Churchill Downs. The runner has been aggressive in his gallops at Pimlico and seems to have taken to the surface. Looking back at the Derby, Always Dreaming is again the main horse but Classic Empire had a nightmarish trip. He can rebound if he gets an unscathed journey.
Trainer Antonio Sano will replace jockey Javier Castellano with Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith about Gunnevera Saturday. This youngster has already repaid his $16,000 purchase price. He was far from disgraced in the Holy Bull and then came from left field winning the Fountain of Youth. 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. For those that favor this runner, they had better project a hot and heavy pace and then hope the leaders come back to the pack. He has conceded double digit lengths in his last three races and that is never simple to overcome.
Term of Art has not ducked anybody. He tried Mastery, one of the leaders in this class before he was hurt, and he may have just hated the rail in the last two races. The place horse in the San Felipe two races back beat this runner by nearly two lengths but that runner returned to run eighth in the SA Derby. He was life and death to graduate and only beat six rivals in his other win on a good Del Mar surface. He has trained steadily for Doug O’Neill but he is speed challenged and is at the mercy of how the race sets up and if he can find a lane to rally into in time.
Senior Investment has won three of his eight races and after taking time to figure it out, he has thrived of late. He has only run one poor race since graduating and is coming off his best win when he took the Lexington Stakes by a head. The place horse that day has not raced back but the show horse in the Lexington was the troubled beaten choice in the Pat Day Mile on Derby Day. Trained by Kenny McPeek, Senior Investment showed he is feeling pretty good about himself when he worked on May 8. He drilled 5 furlongs in 1:00 2/5, the best of 23 at the distance. There are several multiple race siblings that are connected to Senior Investment and his dam Plaid won five stakes and earned nearly $600,000.
If bettors don’t think Always Dreaming is the one to beat, Lookin at Lee is a logical replacement. He showed he belongs in the conversation with the best of his generation when he was a well-clear second in the Kentucky Derby. The concern about this runner is his style. He has a solid late kick, but dawdles early. The runner has proven to be a bargain. He cost $70,000 but has already earned over $850,000.
Conquest Mo Money may not get much respect as one of the Preakness new shooters but that might be a mistake. He showed tactical speed in his New Mexico win and took all the worst of it in the Sunland Derby when marooned in post eleven. He again drew a poor post in the Arkansas Derby but gave Classic Empire all he could handle. Another thing this runner has going for him is stamina deep in his pedigree. Examine the blood long enough and Touch Gold materializes. That runner took the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes and earned over $1.6 million.
Considering his outside post, Conquest Mo Money figures to be intent on making the lead. If he guns hard and makes the top that will be okay since Always Dreaming can sit second and still produce. Look for the Kentucky Derby winner to take the lead at the top of the stretch and then be all out to hold off Classic Empire at the wire.
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