Always Dreaming Arrives at Pimlico Race Course

Always Dreaming Arrives at Pimlico Race Course
Photo: Maryland Jockey Club
Always Dreaming settles in May 9 at Pimlico Race Course

Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) winner Always Dreaming arrived at Pimlico Race Course the morning of May 9 on a quest to add the May 20 Preakness Stakes (G1) to his résumé.

Ginny DePasquale, a longtime assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher, was on hand to supervise the arrival.

"I just spoke to Todd and told him the horse looks very bright-eyed and very happy. He looks like his normal self that we see every day," DePasquale said. "It's pretty special to see him looking that well. I'm happy and I know Todd is."

Always Dreaming arrived from Churchill Downs, where the son of Bodemeister   scored a dominating 2 3/4-length victory in the May 6 Kentucky Derby. After boarding a van at 6:30 a.m. and arriving at Louisville International Airport, Always Dreaming and stablemate and May 19 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) candidate Moana were flown to Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

After the Pletcher trainees arrived at 9:28 a.m., the van carrying them to Pimlico entered the stable gate at 11 a.m. Always Dreaming followed Moana off the van at 11:08 a.m. before walking the shedrow of the Preakness Stakes Barn for six minutes and entering Stall 40, the stall traditionally reserved for the Kentucky Derby champion.

"This year, it's very, very exciting, because we think he's a really special horse," DePasquale said.

Always Dreaming, who prepped for his Derby win with a triumph in the April 1 Xpressbet Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park, has won all four of his starts this year by a combined 23 1/4 lengths.

Always Dreaming is scheduled to get acquainted with the Pimlico racing surface Wednesday morning. 

"He's just going to jog with the pony one time around tomorrow at 6:30," said DePasquale, who will supervise the training session prior to Pletcher's scheduled arrival in Baltimore Wednesday afternoon.

Preakness candidate Royal Mo accompanied the Pletcher trainees on the flight from Louisville. The John Shirreffs-trained colt, who was shut out of a Derby start on the basis of qualifying points, is scheduled to go to the track between 9 and 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Three other Derby runners that are considered probable for the Preakness walked Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs: Lookin At Lee (second), Classic Empire (fourth), and Hence (11th). Lookin At Lee and Hence, trained by Steve Asmussen, are set to fly to Baltimore May 16 on a Tex Sutton flight, as well as Illinois Derby (G3) winner Multiplier and Lexington Stakes (G3) winner Senior Investment.

Gunnevera, who finished seventh, returned to the track to jog twice around alongside a pony. Regular exercise rider Victor O'Farrel was aboard. Owned by Peacock Racing Stables, Gunnevera was added to the Preakness probable list Monday afternoon and will have Mike Smith aboard in Baltimore, as Javier Castellano confirmed Tuesday that he will ride Wood Memorial Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets(G2) third-place finisher Cloud Computing for major client Chad Brown.

"The main factor in deciding to run is that he is sound and doing good and we think we have a good chance in the Preakness," said Alessandro Sano, son of Gunnevera's trainer, Antonio Sano. "He doesn't seem like he ran a mile and a quarter. We are going to take it one race at a time and right now the Preakness is the main goal. The idea is to have a complete and sound horse for the rest of the season, and also for a couple more seasons, so we can achieve the Haskell (G1), Travers (G1), and hopefully we can even get to the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1)."

The late-running colt is scheduled to van to Baltimore early Saturday morning.

Also scheduled to leave Churchill Downs later Tuesday for a return to California were Derby runners Battle of Midway (third), Gormley (ninth), Sonneteer (16th), and Irap (18th).

Godolphin's Thunder Snow, who did not finish the race after being rank and bucking soon after the start, returned to the track for a second consecutive day and jogged a mile alongside a pony and then cantered a mile under Daragh O'Donohoe. Thunder Snow was scheduled to leave Churchill on Tuesday afternoon for Huntsville, Alabama, where he will catch a flight to England.

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