Unlike the Kentucky Derby, which was run in the rain with sloppy track conditions, the Preakness Stakes weather report is calling for a dry track with temperatures in the mid-70s for Baltimore Saturday.
That's what happened at Churchill Downs, when Lukas had no entrant but was overcome with joy while watching Always Dreaming approach the finish line.
The second leg of the Triple Crown all but given to Kentucky Derby victor Always Dreaming.
What's standing in his way?
The Kentucky Derby two weeks ago was a bit hard to handicap because the race was run on a sloppy track in the rain.
Pletcher added the colt had been aggressive and hard to handle during training prior to the Kentucky Derby, so he made a decision to send him to Baltimore three days after the Derby to relax while being prepped for the Preakness.
Classic Empire finished in fourth after being bumped and jostled at the start of the race, almost being knocked down.
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BALTIMORE (AP) - Charging hard down the stretch, Lookin At Lee barely missed winning the Kentucky Derby as a 33-1 long shot. The last time a shooter beat the Kentucky Derby victor to the Preakness wire was in 2000, when Red Bullet defeated Fusaichi Pegasus. American Pharaoh was the last Triple Crown victor in 2015. "I would be really surprised if you don't see Conquest Mo Money (post 10) up in the picture early".
Always Dreaming opened as the 4-5 favorite for the 142nd running of the race. NBC will televise the race.
This year's Preakness has lacked the buzz and lifeblood that sometimes can accompany the second leg of horse racing's Triple Crown.
Classic Empire has the next-best odds to win the 2017 Preakness Stakes at 3/1.
Classic Empire has had a fairly light campaign this year, but it has been eventful.
The Preakness' position two weeks after the Derby is too soon for Pletcher. "I think he's his own person and he was going to be good if he never met me".
I have nothing negative to say about Always Dreaming.
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Which Preakness post positions are the most advantageous?
"We knew he was a talented horse from his races at Saratoga and Belmont", Pletcher said.
However, things do change from Derby to Preakness, and the dream ride that Always Dreaming enjoyed will be more hard to find today. Pletcher is a trainer that likes giving horses adequate rest between races.
Always Dreaming is undoubtedly the horse to beat on Saturday.
Lookin At Lee finished second at Churchill Downs earlier this month and is 12/1 to win Saturday at Pimlico. He was undefeated until second-place finishes in the Sunland and Arkansas derbies. With only one other speed horse (Conquest Mo Money) in the Preakness, Always Dreaming could get another ideal trip and may be on the lead from the start.
"Pimlico race 13, $60 to win on the 5". Conquest Mo Money, second most recently in the GI Arkansas Derby, briefly stood by the rail after galloping two miles beneath jockey Jorge Carreno as training hours began to wind down with the crowd heading toward the annual Alibi Breakfast.
"I think this race sets up nice for us", said Mark Casse, who trains Classic Empire. The 2016 2-year-old champion's Derby chances were canceled at the start when he was sandwiched by two horses.
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