Always Dreaming heads into the 2017 Preakness Stakes with his Triple Crown hopes still intact after a triumph in the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago. He'll face another difficult test Saturday given the high level of competitiveness within this year's three-year-old group.
The Florida Derby champion is peaking at the right time. He's emerged victorious four straight times after failing to win his first two career races, but capturing the Triple Crown has far more hurdles than simply having the necessary talent to accomplish the rare feat.
Let's check out all of the important details for the 142nd running of the Run for the Black-Eyed Susans. That's followed by a look at the complete field, the race purse and a closer look at whether Always Dreaming can make history over the next few weeks.
Where: Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland
When: Saturday, May 20 at 6:45 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live
2017 Preakness Field
Post - Horse (Trainer; Jockey; Odds)
1. Multiplier (Brendan Walsh; Joel Rosario; +4000)
2. Cloud Computing (Chad Brown; Javier Castellano; +1400)
3. Hence (Steve Asmussen; Florent Geroux; +2000)
4. Always Dreaming (Todd Pletcher; John Velazquez; -125)
5. Classic Empire (Mark Casse; Julien Leparoux; +300)
6. Gunnevera (Antonio Sano; Mike Smith; +1600)
7. Term of Art (Doug O'Neill; Jose Ortiz; +3300)
8. Senior Investment (Ken McPeek; Channing Hill; +3300)
9. Lookin at Lee (Steve Asmussen; Corey Lanerie; +1000)
10. Conquest Mo Money (Miguel Hernandez; Jorge Carreno; +1800)
Betting odds courtesy of OddsShark.
|2017 Preakness Stakes: Prize Money|
Analyzing Always Dreaming's Triple Crown Chances
Getting a picture-perfect trip like Always Dreaming did in the Kentucky Derby is rare against a 20-horse field. Although that doesn't take anything away from the accomplishment, it does raise questions how how the colt would handle more typical adversity in the Preakness.
The Derby post draw fell perfectly for the Todd Pletcher trainee and jockey John Velazquez took full advantage. He quickly moved the post-time favorite into prime position and never got forced to make any difficult decisions about having to make an early move.
Art Lander Jr. of KYForward.com doesn't foresee such an easy ride in the Preakness:
Art Lander Jr. @artlanderjr
But Preakness, with smaller field, and shorter distance, will be much more challenging for Always Dreaming, who had perfect trip2017-5-7 01:37:55
On the flip side, Always Dreaming wasn't forced to overextend himself to get the victory and came out of Churchill Downs in fine shape.
The Preakness' official website passed along along comments from Pletcher about the amount of energy the horse showed almost immediately after the first Triple Crown race.
"So far I've been amazed at how well he came out of the race," he said. "His energy level is great. He walked the shedrow with a purpose this morning, ate all his dinner last night. Really, really pleased with the way he's come out of it so far."
He'll likely need every ounce of that energy against a well-rounded field featuring both top Kentucky Derby rivals (Classic Empire, Gunnevera and Lookin At Lee) and talented new shooters (Cloud Computing and Conquest Mo Money).
Yet, in a year without a dominant horse in the mold of American Pharoah or California Chrome, the door is wide open for Always Dreaming to make a serious Triple Crown bid.
USA Today Sports examined the Derby winner's outlook:
USA TODAY Sports @usatodaysports
Always Dreaming looks like a horse that could make a legitimate run at the Triple Crown: https://t.co/zqCYMDVzMu https://t.co/F5jNLq7jUD2017-5-7 03:17:43
Ultimately, Always Dreaming will need to dig a little deeper to win the Preakness, which could be a tough ask on short rest of just two weeks. But there's rightfully more optimism now about a Triple Crown winner than there was heading into the wide-open Kentucky Derby.