Always Dreaming lived up to expectations as a co-favorite with his win at the 2017 Kentucky Derby.
Jockey John Velazquez kept his horse near the front of the pack most of the race before making his move on the final stretch, pulling away for the impressive victory.
NBC Sports provided video of the win:
Per KentuckyDerby.com, Always Dreaming and Irish War Cry were the co-favorites at 9-2, with the eventual winner receiving the most money in wagers. This was a major shift from the morning line, which featured Classic Empire as the favorite before dropping significantly by race time.
However, the bettors clearly knew what they were doing as Always Dreaming came away with the victory:
|2017 Kentucky Derby Results|
|1||Always Dreaming||John R. Velazquez||Todd A. Pletcher||-|
|2||Lookin At Lee||Corey Lanerie||Steven M. Asmussen||2 3/4|
|3||Battle of Midway||Flavien Prat||Jerry Hollendorfer||7 3/4|
|4||Classic Empire||Julien R. Leparoux||Mark E. Casse||8 3/4|
|5||Practical Joke||Joel Rosario||Chad C. Brown||9 1/2|
|6||Tapwrit||Jose L. Ortiz||Todd A. Pletcher||10 1/4|
|7||Gunnevera||Javier Castellano||Antonio Sano||13 1/4|
|8||McCraken||Brian Joseph Hernandez Jr.||Ian R. Wilkes||13 1/4|
|9||Gormley||Victor Espinoza||John A. Shirreffs||14 1/4|
|10||Irish War Cry||Rajiv Maragh||H. Graham Motion||16 1/2|
|11||Hence||Florent Geroux||Steven M. Asmussen||18 1/2|
|12||Untrapped||Ricardo Santana Jr.||Steven M. Asmussen||19 1/4|
|13||Girvin||Mike E. Smith||Joe Sharp||19 1/4|
|14||Patch||Tyler Gaffalione||Todd A. Pletcher||20 3/4|
|15||J Boys Echo||Robby Albarado||Dale L. Romans||22 3/4|
|16||Sonneteer||J. Keith Desormeaux||Kent J. Desormeaux||26|
|17||Fast And Accurate||Channing Hill||Michael J. Maker||28 1/2|
|18||Irap||Mario Gutierrez||Doug F. O'Neill||40 1/2|
|19||State of Honor||Jose Lezcano||Mark E. Casse||45 1/2|
|20||Thunder Snow||Christophe Soumillon||Saeed bin Suroor||DNF|
Although the first-place finish didn't lead to much of a payout, those who took a chance on Lookin At Lee and Battle of Midway won big thanks to their long odds.
Here is a breakdown of payouts from the top three spots:
|Kentucky Derby Payout Information (Based on $2 Bet)|
|2||1||Lookin At Lee||$26.60||$15.20|
|3||11||Battle of Midway||$20.80|
|$2 Exacta (5-1)||$1 Trifecta (5-1-11)||$1 Superfecta (5-1-11-14)|
|Source: Lee K. Howard of CBS|
Lookin At Lee provided a serious threat for the win in the final few furlongs, with jockey Corey Lanerie leading him on a late charge. With zero wins in his last six races, this would have been a major upset. With that said, this was still a solid day for Lanerie, who also won the Pat Day Mile Stakes earlier in the day.
Battle of Midway also ended up in the top three after holding his position on the straightaway despite tough late challenges.
Those closing runs came from Classic Empire and Irish War Cry, two top contenders who appeared ready to make their move toward the podium. However, they each failed to keep up and finished outside the money.
Always Dreaming proved it was the best horse in a loaded field now with four straight wins in 2017. Darren Rovell of ESPN noted the result for the owners:
Trainer Todd Pletcher was also a big part of the success, earning his second career Kentucky Derby victory.
"Everything went exactly as we planned when we were training him," the trainer said after the race, per Lane Gold of ESPN.
The 49-year-old also helped Tapwrit to a sixth-place finish and Patch to 14th, but Always Dreaming now gives him seven top-three finishes at the Kentucky Derby.
While the question now is whether Always Dreaming has what it takes to contend for a Triple Crown, it would be a mistake to rule him out after his recent run of success.
The next leg will be the Preakness Stakes, set for May 20 in Baltimore.