Always Dreaming wins the 143rd Kentucky Derby

Carla Harmon
May 13, 2017

Battle of Midway, second in the Santa Anita Derby, finished third and Classic Empire, last year's 2-year-old champion and victor of the Arkansas Derby, was fourth after being slammed sideways at the start.

With another Derby finished, there is little left to do but look forward to another one.

The trainer has chose to give the champion nearly two weeks to adjust to Pimlico. But this is the Derby, the event on everyone's bucket list.

More significantly, however, he has now silenced the critics with a second victory in the $2 million contest - and the usually imperturbable trainer admitted he had shed a tear beneath his shades.

While veteran Derby watchers aren't pulling for any one frontrunner this year, right now the odds favor Always Dreaming and Irish War Cry.

I touted Looking at Lee at the recent PBA tournament, but only used him in doubles.

"I felt like I really needed that second one", Pletcher said.


Pletcher saddled 2010 Kentucky Derby victor Super Saver, while Velazquez was aboard 2011 victor Animal Kingdom. On that day in 2010, the sun also came out just before the Derby.

But the story of the guys who bought him started long before that. It just ran away from him in the middle.

I said why don't we just name it Dreaming? "The main thing is I wanted to control the pace of his gallops".

Under Velazquez, he broke well from the fifth post and was always near the front. "I think Classic Empire is probably the best horse in the race". We're thankful we did it. His first came astride Animal Kingdom in 2011 for trainer Graham Motion. This is so special to win this race with Johnny. "Finally we got it together with this horse - incredible horse". We have had a great relationship for a long time now, and we have won a lot of races together.

Following Always Dreaming's superb victory in Kentucky Derby, Longines ceremoniously gifted owners, trainer and jockey with stunning timepieces.

This does not appear to be a crop of 3-year-old thoroughbreds deep in quality. I was very happy with the way he was running.

Not Irish Way Cry. However, Always Dreaming was pushed by a pair of longshots at the end of America's Greatest Race, Lookin At Lee and Battle At Midway, who went off at 33-1 and 40-1 respectively. Battle of Midway was jockeyed by Derby rookie Flavien Prat. We're good at getting here; we'll figure out how to win it.


"Winning this one is definitely a big one", Velazquez said.

Godolphin's Thunder Snow did not finish.

"He's the first horse in 20 years to run in the top three in the Derby from the 1-hole". Battle of Midway, the place horse in Santa Anita's Derby, took third money in Kentucky and paid $20.80 to show.

"We had a good trip", jockey Tyler Gaffalione said. "My horse was committed to it and he would have run through a hole in a needle", said Lanerie. The win is the second for trainer Todd Pletcher. "He was traveling and carrying me".

"Growing up as a kid, we've won a lot of Kentucky Derbies", said Bonomo, a lawyer, "but never in reality". That will be followed by the Belmont on June 10. He was a half-length better than Lookin at Lee with a quarter mile to run. "They'll be another chance", said Lanerie when posed with that possible option. He got his first win on January 25, the latest first victory for a Derby victor since 1933. 1972 Kentucky Derby victor Riva Ridge detested it, leading to his loss in the Preakness that year. However, Classic Empire emerged with a swollen eye and it is imperative that it responds to treatment quickly in order to make the Preakness. Pletcher-trained Malagacy has not yet been ruled out of a Preakness start.

This time he'll be there. "I guess dreams do come true".


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