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BALTIMORE, MD – The impressive Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming was assigned post 4 and installed the 4-5 favorite in the 10-horse field at Wednesday afternoon’s post position draw for Saturday’s $1.5 million Preakness Stakes.
The Todd Pletcher-trained Always Dreaming is on a quest to become the 36th horse to capture both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. The last horse to accomplish the feat was American Pharoah, racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner, in 2015. He represents the ownership group of MeB Racing, Brooklyn Boyz Stable, Teresa Viola Stable, St. Elias Stable, Siena Farm, and West Point Thoroughbreds in the 142nd running of the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
Trainer Todd Pletcher, Always Dreaming – “Like I said before, I wasn’t overly concerned about where we drew. He was 4 in the Florida Derby, 5 in the Kentucky Derby. He’s generally a very alert horse away from the gate. He’s a good horse standing in the gate. I guess if you were hand selecting wherever you drew, maybe you’d like to be outside of Conquest Mo Money. As we know, in a lot of races, things change as soon as the gates open. We’ll just let him run his race.”
“I don’t think (Classic Empire being in Post 5) matters, as long as everybody breaks cleanly. I would imagine that Classic Empire is going to keep an eye on where we are. The first and second choices are side by side.”
Trainer Mark Casse, Classic Empire – “We’ll hope for a good break. Always Dreaming is obviously a very good horse. We just want a fair shot at him. Conquest Mo Money will probably show speed from the outside and Always Dreaming will be right there, but if we break running, we can be there, too. It’s a good post.”
“I wouldn’t have wanted to be right down on the rail, and I prefer not to have been on the outside. The post position wasn’t that big a deal. But I think it’s nice (that the two favorites are next to each other). It’s nice for the fans, for everybody. Hopefully, they both have good trips, break well. It could be interesting. They might go right at it from the start.”
“I like it a lot better being 5 and Always Dreaming being 4 than us being 4 and he’s 5, because that puts Julien (Leparoux) more in the driver’s seat. He can watch, and if we break running and Always Dreaming doesn’t, we may be on the lead. If Always Dreaming breaks running and we break running, if Julien thinks Always Dreaming is running too easy, he’ll go up and engage him earlier. If he thinks he’s running, he’ll sit back.”
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Scott Blasi (assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen), Lookin At Lee – “In years past, they’ve shown a lot of pace in the Preakness. It’s supposed to be a fast track that day. Both of our horses close. I thought Hence got shuffled back quite a bit in the Derby, farther back than he normally would be. Lee is going to run his race every time. He always does; he tries so hard. We just need a few things to go our way and for there to be some good pace in the race.”
“We’ll see how he breaks and where he positions himself. This track is not Churchill. When the gates open, we’ll see where we end up.”
“Lookin At Lee, being the (Derby) runner-up, great race, great ride by Corey Lanerie. He’s proven he belongs with these. He had a troubled trip in the Arkansas Derby or things might have gone a little different there. That being said, he brings his game every time. He’s a blue-collar horse and probably easy to overlook, but not for us.”
Trainer Chad Brown, Cloud Computing – “I’m fine with the post. He should be able to work out a good trip from there.”
Trainer Miguel Hernandez, Conquest Mo Money – “I like it. The last three times, I had all outside positions, and the best happened to us. You are out of trouble and you can see how it is going to play. I like that hole. From there, you can go in front or go behind. You can play many, many things.”
Trainer Antonio Sano, Gunnevera – “The post position is good. It is right near the middle. It is 2 furlongs from the first turn and my horse runs from behind. It’s no easy race, but it’s a different race. There’s not 20 horses; it’s quite a difference.”
Trainer Brendan Walsh, Multiplier – “It’s the shortest way around. I’d rather that than draw way outside. I don’t think it makes a huge difference, especially to him. He’s been crowded before; he’s been in kick-back before. I think it’s fine. We wanted middle to inside.”
Trainer Kenny McPeek, Senior Investment – “It’s fine. He’s a closer. I don’t see it being an issue.”
Trainer Doug O’Neill, Term of Art – “Lucky 7. He’s a strong, long, good-bodied horse, and I always think with those horses, the less traffic they encounter early on, the better. I think 7 will have to be perfect.”
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