Pletcher confident of Derby winner at Preakness

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Eclipse Sportswire

Juan Aguayo watches as Kentucky Derby victor Always Dreaming munches on his breakfast in Stall 40 of the stakes barn at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Friday, May 19, 2017. The Preakness Stakes horse race is scheduled to take place May 20.

Pletcher added the colt had been aggressive and hard to handle during training prior to the Kentucky Derby, so he chose to send him to Baltimore three days after the Derby to relax while being prepped for the Preakness. The "Run for the Black-Eyed Susans" is held on the third Saturday in May and is only trumped by the Kentucky Derby in attendance for North American stakes races.

The Preakness field is made up of five horses that competed in the Derby - the victor, Lookin At Lee, Classic Empire, Gunnevera and Hence. "Instead, I got lucky and they bounced right instead of left".

Many devoted horse-racing fans won't be so concerned over making some coin, but whether or not Always Dreaming will capture the Preakness, thus continuing his quest to becoming the 13th Triple Crown victor ever.

The 1 3/16 mile-race has a $1.5 million guaranteed purse.

So how much attention the Belmont receives in 2017 largely depends on what Kentucky Derby victor Always Dreaming does in the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes on Saturday. Always Dreaming, the 4-5 program favorite for the Preakness, won the Derby by 2 3/4 lengths over Lookin At Lee with a stalk-and-pounce trip.

"He's generally a very good horse away from the gate", trainer Todd Pletcher told reporters at the draw.

Will Always Dreaming win the second leg of the Triple Crown? The colt finished fourth after getting bounced around and having a rough early trip in the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago.

Always Dreaming will attempt to be the fourth Kentucky Derby victor in the last six years to finish first in the Preakness.

Meanwhile, Classic Empire has the second-best odds at 3/1.

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"They'll have to come with a game higher than they've showed so far", Casse said.

"Always Dreaming hasn't had many obstacles to face", he said. "He came out good, he's back here at Santa Anita and we're looking to run him maybe in the Affirmed (Stakes on June 24)".

Casse likes the neighboring posts.

Pletcher followed the same workout schedule for Always Dreaming following his victory at Churchill Downs on May 6.

That closing speed could have played well in the Belmont Stakes, but I'll Have Another unfortunately didn't get a chance at a Triple Crown shot due to a bout of tendonitis.

A surprising second-place finisher as a +2200 bet at the Kentucky Derby, Lookin at Lee rounds out the top of the Preakness Stakes odds at +1000.

A shooter hasn't won the Preakness since Bernardini in 2006. He will break from the No. 2 hole. The above paragraph also applies to 20-1 Hence except minus Mike Smith and the work ethic - he was an terrible plodder in the Derby.

The pair of Steve-Asmussen-trained colts had flown from Louisville, Kentucky, along with Doug O'Neill-trained Term of Art, who had boarded a plan in Southern California earlier in the day, and Kenny McPeek-trained Senior Investment, who were unloaded from the second van minutes later.

Yorkton became a stakes victor in the $125,000 Queenston Stakes last Saturday with Eurico Rosa da Silva aboard for trainer Stuart Simon.

Since 1983, the Preakness victor has emerged from the Derby in 30 of 33 runnings. Giacomo got stuck with an outside post in the Preakness and finished 9 ¾ lengths behind the favored Afleet Alex.

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