Always Dreaming becomes a Kentucky Derby Favorite with Florida Derby Win
Trainer Todd Pletcher may have found his next Kentucky Derby winner, and he’ll be dreaming about Derby day for the next month. Always Dreaming put on a powerful performance in his stakes debut, storming down the stretch to win Saturday’s $1 million Florida Derby by 5 lengths. The victory was worth 100 qualifying points and secured a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate May 6.
Always Dreaming won his third straight race in 2017 after being turned over to trainer Todd Pletcher. He was so impressive in his 11 length maiden victory and then again by 4 lengths in an allowance race at Gulfstream March 4. A pair of bullet 4 furlong works followed, and Always Dreaming continued his powerful progression with a most impressive stretch run to win the Florida Derby by 5 lengths.
“The horse has been training exceptionally well and we were confident he was going to run as well as he’s capable of, and thankfully he did,” Pletcher said. “I have to be honest with you: He was training so well that I would have been disappointed had he not run well, but that was a very impressive performance.”
Always Dreaming covered the 1 1/8 mile race in 1:47.47 and returned $7.40, $3.80 and $2.60 across the board. State of Honor ($4.80, $2.80) was second with favorite Gunnevera ($2.10) rallying for 3rd another 1 ½ lengths back. Always Dreaming took plenty of betting action closing as the 5/2 second choice, and the Bodemeister colt showed why so many are high on him moving forward while showing speed and stamina to get the 1 ¼ mile Derby distance and also a likely contender for the 1 ½ mile Belmont Stakes in June.
Always Dreaming posted an Equibase Speed Figure of 100, and his closing kick was especially impressive covering the final eighth mile in a very strong 12.53 seconds. He earned $589,000 in victory plus 100 Kentucky Derby qualifying points while improving to 3-1-1 in five starts for owners Brooklyn Boyz Stables and Teresa Viola Racing Stables.
Pletcher currently has five horses in the top 20 of the Kentucky Derby points standings – No. 3 Always Dreaming, No. 6 Tapwrit (Tampa Bay Derby winner), No. 8 Malagacy (Rebel winner), No. 11 Patch (Louisiana Derby runner-up) and No. 18 Master Plan (UAE Derby third-place finisher).
Pletcher will try to break through at the Kentucky Derby, where he has just 1 win in 45 starts.