Pletcher confident of Derby winner at Preakness

Kentucky Derby victor Always Dreaming is washed after a workout at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Wednesday, May 17, 2017.

Post time for the 142 Preakness Stakes is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. CST Saturday at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.

The good news for Saturday's Preakness Stakes in Baltimore is there is no forecast for rain.

The track is expected to be fast and dry at Pimlico, and it's a 10-horse field compared to the congested 20 at the Kentucky Derby.

And that's exactly the goal of Always Dreaming, who was installed as the 4-5 favorite in the 10-horse Preakness Stakes. Classic Empire is the 3-1 second choice and will be right next door in the No. 5 hole.

"I thought our horse gave a nice effort", Hollendorfer said.

If Always Dreaming wins the Preakness, he'll go to the Belmont Stakes on June 10 with an opportunity to become thoroughbred racing's 13 Triple Crown victor. As with Lookin At Lee, he has won on short rest before, having captured a maiden race at Gulfstream last July 16 in his third start, 14 days after his prior start. Trainer Todd Pletcher, who conditioned 2010 Kentucky Derby victor Super Saver, shipped Always Dreaming to Pimlico a week earlier than he had done with Super Saver in order to take advantage of the quiet surroundings before the majority of the Preakness contenders would arrive.

Always Dreaming and his trainer Todd Pletcher proved their skeptics wrong with a resounding win in the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby on May 6th.

He and Always Dreaming are clearly the top pair for the Preakness, and I expect them to be vying for the lead in the mid-stretch of racing's second jewel. American Pharoah swept the Derby, Preakness and Belmont two years ago, ending a 37-year Triple Crown drought.

Classic Empire won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last year, when he was voted 2-year-old male champion.

Beyond the close finishes, the Preakness has been home to some of the most legendary moments in horse racing history.

"The champ's been knocked down and he's going to come back and try to take back the crown", Casse said.

Always Dreaming has earned more than $2.28 million for Brooklyn Boyz Stables and MeB Racing Stables (both owned by Bonomo and his wife, MaryEllen) and their partners - Teresa Viola Racing Stables, St. Elias Stable, Siena Farm and West Point Thoroughbreds. Favorite Bodemeister led the pack for much of the race, only to be run down by Derby rookie Gutierrez in the final furlong for a 1.5-length victory.

Casse likes the neighboring posts.

"We want people to watch". "Always Dreaming is going to be very, very hard to beat at about 1-to-2 odds".

For almost four decades, winning horse racing's Triple Crown had turned into the impossible dream. With all that, a wet track, and being pushed well to the outside and running much further than Always Dreaming, Classic Empire, who many railbirds still feel is the class of the class, still managed to finish fourth.

Those anticipating an upset from Lookin At Lee will find the odds attractive, somewhere in the 10-1 range. He drew the No. 9 post.

He's not high on Looking at Lee, whose sire won the 2009 Preakness.

The No. 1 post had not produced a top-three finish in the Derby since third-place Risen Star in 1988.

The field is rounded out by a trio of 30-1 shots: Multiplier, Senior Investment and Term of Art.

As for Always Dreaming, the big bay colt lives up to his name.

Could something similar happen to this year's Derby victor?

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