Always Dreaming eyes Triple Crown

Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming is scheduled to arrive at Pimlico Race Course on Tuesday morning in preparation for the May 20 Preakness Stakes, and the colt’s early arrival is an unconventional approach for trainer Todd Pletcher.
 
When he elects to run in the Preakness, Pletcher typically ships his horses to Pimlico late, the Daily Racing Form notes. But Pletcher wants to get Always Dreaming to Pimlico as soon as possible in an effort to avoid the aggressive behavior the horse exhibited at Churchill Downs in the lead-up to the Derby.
 
“He was so headstrong when he got here that I don’t think staying here for another week is going to be an advantage,” Pletcher said Sunday morning, per the Baltimore Sun. “I don’t think going to Belmont (where Always Dreaming is based) for a week and then moving again is an advantage. So just looking at what the options are, I think Pimlico, there aren’t usually a lot of horses training there, and it’ll be a quiet environment. It’ll give us time to settle in and if we need to, make any adjustments.”
 
The Preakness is not Pletcher’s favorite race — he’s winless in eight attempts in the second leg of the Triple Crown and often skips it to get his trainees ready for the Belmont Stakes. His only previous Derby winner, Super Saver, finished eighth in the 2010 Preakness.
 
The 2017 Preakness field is setting up favorably for Always Dreaming, though, as it usually does for the Derby winner. Only a handful of Derby contenders will take another shot at Pletcher’s colt in two weeks.
 
Second-place Derby finisher Lookin At Lee is likely for the Preakness, and trainer Mark Casse said if fourth-place finisher Classic Empire’s swollen eye subsides, he’s probably a go as well. Gunnevera is also a possibility after his seventh-place performance at Churchill Downs.
 
While Always Dreaming will face a host of new challengers at the Preakness, conventional wisdom holds that if these three-year-olds were championship-caliber, they would have run for the roses.
 
Nevertheless, the “new shooters” that look probable for the Preakness include: Cloud Computing (third in the Wood Memorial in his last start); Conquest Mo Money (Arkansas Derby runner-up); Multiplier (Illinois Derby winner); Senior Investment (Lexington Stakes winner); and Royal Mo (third in Santa Anita Derby).
 
Barring something unforeseen, Always Dreaming will go the Pimlico post as a heavy favorite, and a Preakness win will spur talk of the second Triple Crown winner in three years (in 2015, American Pharoah became the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to accomplish the feat). Keep in mind, though, that the Preakness is a far easier task the Belmont.
 
For bettors who believe in Always Dreaming, William Hill sports books in Nevada are offering +325 odds that he’ll become the 13th Triple Crown winner in horse racing history.

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