Co-favorite Always Dreaming wins Kentucky Derby

Always Dreaming, bred in Kentucky by Santa Rosa Partners, won for the first time January 25 at Tampa Bay Downs after failing to win maiden races in two attempts at 2. His mount unrideable, Christophe Soumillon had no choice but to pull him up in front of the stands first time around.

Sure, Pletcher proved he could train a Derby victor seven years ago.

The 49-year-old trainer and jockey John Velazquez won their second Derbies.

"It does mean a lot", said Velazquez, 45. That lack of experience some thought might hurt him in the Derby could turn be a plus when faced with the grind of trying to win three Triple Crown races over six weeks.

Added Velasquez, "This is the best horse Todd and I have ever come to the Kentucky Derby with".

Classic Empire, sent off at 6-1, started poorly and was immediately hampered by other horses, forcing him to come from 14th early.

Super Saver won the Derby at odds of 8-1. For his victory he earned the $1.425 million share of a guaranteed $2 million purse. The first one's special but this one is just as good or even better. "If you watched him train and didn't know that he had one eye, there's no indication of him doing anything peculiar in his training or in his races that would make you concerned about the one eye", Pletcher told USA Today. Thirteen of those Derby starters who won two-thirds of the Triple Crown were Florida Derby winners. "When this horse has its first baby, we're going to name it Keep On Dreaming". We want to continue building a year-round program that provides horsemen a schedule that allows their horses to reach their full potential at facilities that are the finest in the world. It was one of the more colorful outfits at an event that always seems to bring out colors. But Always Dreaming made his move with heading into the final turn.

The Derby was won by the 9-2 post-time favorite, Always Dreaming, the fifth time in a row that the race has been won by the favorite.

Classic Empire, last year's champion 2-year-old and the morning-line favorite, was jostled leaving the gate. "He did it himself from there". He withstood a challenge from Irish War Cry before pulling away in the straight to leave the late charging Lookin At Lee, a 33-1 shot trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Corey Lanerie, to finish second 2 3/4 lengths behind.

Classic Empire got banged into by McCraken in the start of a chain-reaction collision and his eye was almost closed shut on Sunday.

Trainer Todd Pletcher and the ownership group consistently put Always Dreaming first, and they were richly rewarded.

Always Dreaming got his 100 in the Tampa Bay Derby. He kept his colt close to the rail on the backstretch, occasionally putting his nose in front, never dropping back beyond third.

Trainer Chad Brown won a second stakes Saturday on the Kentucky Derby undercard when Roca Rojo prevailed by a head in the $300,000 Distaff Turf Mile. Since it hit two of the four places and Looking at Lee and Battle of Midway were barely part of any conversations about potential Derby winners, it's fair to say the swarm performed at least as well as most experts and polls, and it outperformed many of them since lots of prognostications came up completely empty on this year's Derby. "He was examined and was found to have no injuries and walked back to his barn under his own power".


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