Always Dreaming has been thrust to the front of the Kentucky Derby line since winning the 2017 Florida Derby in decisive fashion. The Todd Pletcher trainee remains in the Sunshine State at Palm Beach Downs were he cruised through 5 furlongs in a time of 1:01.40. His connections have to be thrilled with his continued progress.
Here’s a video of Always Dreaming breezing away.
“I thought it was excellent,” beamed Pletcher. “We were looking for a nice, steady, solid, stamina-building breeze. He was very relaxed, very happy, moving well, and galloped out great. I was very happy. He’s been training great, eating well, (and his) energy level has been good. We’re really excited about how he’s doing.
Always Dreaming will transition to Churchill Downs early next week where he will start final preparations for the first leg of the Triple Crown. “We have a flight to Churchill on Tuesday and an important work over the track there,” Pletcher continued. “Hopefully he takes to that surface the way he has to every other surface he’s been on and he stays healthy.”
Bettors have already keyed on the three-year-old bay colt. He ended Kentucky Derby Futures Wager Pool 4 as a 6/1 co-favorite and his number is sure to get tighter and tighter as we approach the big day in May. One of the reasons for this is how fast he completed the Florida Derby. His time of 1:47.47 is over a second faster than what Classic Empire managed at the Arkansas Derby.
We’ve been hard pressed to find a true contender to take the mantle of “horse to beat” at the Kentucky Derby, but there are a lot of promising things coming out of the camp of Always Dreaming. Having a trainer like Todd Pletcher behind him certainly helps, but competing against a questionable field leverages certain advantages as well.
The only knock is that Always Dreaming doesn’t have a substantial sample size to draw from in terms of study. He’s run in a single stakes race. There are many others who have re-asserted themselves late in the game. Gunnevera, Classic Empire, McCraken and others will certainly be major considerations. But my early money rides with Always Dreaming.