Thirteen winners have started from that post, most recently Curlin in 2007.
Following the same routine as he did leading into the Kentucky Derby, Pletcher said he would take the draw reins off Always Dreaming May 19 and just have the dark bay colt jog Friday morning in his last trip to the track before Saturday's classic. They could go at it right from the start..
One of Always Dreaming's owners, Vinnie Viola, spent a sleepless Tuesday night watching clips of the most famous rivalries in racing history: Affirmed-Alydar, Sunday Silence-Easy Goer, Secretariat-Sham. He lost twice at the tail end of his career and three times overall as a 3-year-old. "So, I'm just trying to focus the two weeks on kind of refueling the tank a little bit".
Trainer Todd Pletcher oozed confidence over his Kentucky Derby victor Always Dreaming on Thursday after early morning training at Pimlico ahead of Saturday's Preakness Stakes in Baltimore. 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 post-position draw is a tense ordeal at the Kentucky Derby, where every patch of free space is precious because of the 20-horse field. "In a lot of races things change as soon as the gates open". Of Pletcher's eight Preakness starters to date, none has done better.
The Kentucky Derby also reveals a host of horses that found out they just aren't good enough. Connections often outrun their odds, but I think a win here could be asking too much; third or fourth wouldn't be out of the question.
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It might have been better if we had drawn outside of Conquest Mo Money, who has a ton of speed and will break from post 10.
Always Dreaming is the early 4-5 favorite for the race Saturday at Pimlico in Baltimore, where he'll break from the No. 4 post.
I admit I have thought about what it would be like to go to Belmont Park with a shot at a Triple Crown.
Upon further review, Always Dreaming should still realize its bigger dream and go into the Belmont trying to become the second Triple Crown victor in three years after American Pharoah ended a 37-year-drought.
"I don't think there's a rush to do that with this horse".
There are some notable differences between the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. I mean, we still get all gussied up, but by and large, it's a welcoming event. "I was very happy there and had a ton of friends".
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Which new entry can steal the race from Always Dreaming?
Trainer Antonio Sano will replace jockey Javier Castellano with Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith about Gunnevera Saturday.
Pletcher, who will celebrate his 50th birthday next month, burst on the classic scene in 2000 with four Derby entrants, two of which carried the green and yellow polka dot silks of Aiken-based Dogwood Stable. Finishing second in the Derby seemingly impressed no one. He'll start from the No. 6 post as a 15-1 co-fifth choice in the morning line.
Always Dreaming had had a quiet week at Pimlico, arriving in Baltimore three days after his May 6 Kentucky Derby victory.
Their prized colt prevailed by 2 ¾ lengths in the Derby, leaving him undefeated as a 3-year-old.
Finding the correct strategy and sticking to it during the race may be the key factor for Always Dreaming and any of his nine rivals. And of the 19 horses Always Dreaming beat at Churchill Downs, only four - Lookin At Lee, Classic Empire, Gunnevera, and Hence - are back to challenge in the Preakness. Hence actually was on the rail behind Lookin at Lee and could have followed into the stretch.
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"He said 'Perfect, ' so that's my quote", Blasi noted with a laugh. The Preakness field consists of 10 runners, compared to the 20 that charged out of the gates at Churchill Downs. "He's fired up. He's ready".
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