Always Dreaming wins Kentucky Derby on sloppy track

Classic Empire Martin Rivera

He was fractious in the morning, refusing to relax. Upon arriving in Louisville, the colt had his final serious tune-up eight days before Saturday's triumph and whizzed five furlongs in 59 and 3/5ths seconds, the best work of the day, galloping out strongly before pulling up.

Although the sun was out by post time, off-and-on showers throughout the day swamped the track to make for a muddy run, but Always Dreaming put in a fine showing despite the conditions.

"None of the riders ever feel him carrying himself any differently and you know, even in his first start, he was behind horses, dirt in his face, and I was amazed at how well he handled all that", said Pletcher.

That's certainly the biggest news here, as any type of injury on a track with a horse is very serious.

It was Always Dreaming's his fourth straight victory, proving his five-length win in the Florida Derby was no fluke.

Second-place finisher Lookin at Lee ran a spectacular race.

The victory was worth $1,635,800.

Held by an ownership group headed by the Brooklyn Boyz Stables partnership of Anthony Bonomo and Vinnie Viola, Always Dreaming by Bodemeister out of Above Perfection was foaled on Dromoland Farm in Lexington.

In the ownership of Always Dreaming is billionaire Vinnie Viola, who also owns the Florida Panthers in the National Hockey League, and was set to become US President Donald Trump's army secretary before withdrawing as a candidate in February.

Classic Empire, victor of the 2016 Breeders' Cup Juvenile and the morning line favorite, was jostled at the start.

Keep an eye out for Cinderella story, Patch, a one-eyed horse.

Pletcher also trains Tapwrit and Patch. Thunder Snow did not finish the race but it was not a result of a health issue.

He broke a step slow out of the gate and then started bucking under jockey Christophe Soumillon, who pulled him up a few seconds later. After a jaw-dropping performance at the Florida Derby, Always Dreaming earned a winning reputation that stuck with him through today. All in all, it seems a good trade-off for not getting into the Run for the Roses.

Classic Empire is the 4-1 pre-race choice.

The Kentucky Derby is as much a social event as a horse race, and the sports world was well-represented at Churchill Downs.

Sent off slightly bigger than a 9-2 chance, Always Dreaming gave the lie to pre-race suggestions that he had been training too aggressively by travelling kindly on the awful sloppy surface (officially wet-fast).

That allowed some generous-priced horses to hit the ticket. Battle of Midway, at 40-1, paid $20.80. And whoever had those four, plus 25-1 hope Practical Joke in the fifth spot, bought mint juleps for everyone with a $493,348.70 payoff.

State of Honor, the longshot Ontario-bred, set a fast opening quarter of 22:70, with Always Dreaming tracking him and putting him away on the backstretch.

Related News: