Todd Pletcher is taking a cue from Always Dreaming in that he, like his high-energy charge, have about had it with the minutiae leading into the May 20 Preakness Stakes (G1) and are ready to just run the race.
It was another typical morning for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) winner, as Always Dreaming was on the muscle again during his 1 1/2-mile gallop over the Pimlico Race Course main track May 18 with exercise rider Nick Bush at the helm.
The son of Bodemeister was perfectly composed in his walk to the oval and barely batted an eyelash as the clicks of cameras served as his soundtrack while he cooled out from his morning outing. On the track is where he continued to shine. He put in a training session that touted his form and recovery coming out of the first leg of the Triple Crown.
"The tank seems full, he seems eager to go, and we're just trying to keep him on the ground one more day," Pletcher said. "The Derby actually surprised me with how well he bounced out of it. His energy level was immediately good and has remained so throughout. At this point, I just want the race to get here. He's doing so good."
Following the same routine as he did leading into the Kentucky Derby, Pletcher said he would take the draw reins off Always Dreaming May 19 and just have the dark bay colt jog Friday morning in his last trip to the track before Saturday's classic.
"It will give me the opportunity to take the draw reins off of him one day and just go pretty easy tomorrow—let him stretch his neck out a bit," Pletcher said. "We'll keep him controlled. We won't do too much that day."
Always Dreaming and Derby fourth-place finisher Classic Empire will break side by side in posts 4 and 5 Saturday. Fittingly, the reigning juvenile champion has matched his budding rival by making his own strong impression on the track this week, a trend that continued with another strong gallop Thursday under regular exercise rider Martin Rivera.
Illinois Derby (G3) winner Multiplier became the last of the Preakness contenders to get acquainted with the Pimlico surface. He took his first spin around the Baltimore track Thursday morning after a planned walk day following his arrival Tuesday.
Trainer Brendan Walsh guided the son of The Factor through a easy 1 1/4-mile gallop and expressed confidence that his lightly raced colt may be tapping into his best potential at just the right time.
"He went great this morning—taking it all in," Walsh said. "His form is gradually getting better and better, so this was pretty much the obvious next step with him. I think he fits here and we're pretty confident he should run a good race."
Gunnevera had another leisurely gallop Thursday, while the Steve Asmussen-trained duo of Derby-runner up Lookin at Lee and Hence went through routine paces. Cloud Computing and Senior Investment also put in their gallops, with Term of Art and Conquest Mo Money also taking to the track.