Always Dreaming wins the 143rd Kentucky Derby

  • Always Dreaming wins the 143rd Kentucky Derby

Always Dreaming wins the 143rd Kentucky Derby

Trainer Joe Sharp and his assistant-wife, former jockey Rosie Napravnik, had the colt swimming and using a hyperbaric chamber to make the race.

"To me, it represents everybody who went to the race track for the first time with their dads and were just astonished by the brilliance of these equine athletes and fell in love with the sport", Vincent Viola said.

"Down the back side, according to Velazquez", He got a nice position. "I said to myself that they were going to have to go really fast to beat him".

Always Dreaming, ridden by John Velazquez, broke on top but surrendered the lead to State of Honor going into the first turn. Calvin Borel was aboard that day. The Derby's ultimate victor, Always Dreaming, was ranked fourth by the predictive system, with only a 65% chance to finish in the top four.

"Always Dreaming came out of it in wonderful fashion, just excellent", winning trainer Todd Pletcher said Sunday morning. Now, after Always Dreaming dominated the Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs, they have "their" Derby.

Always Dreaming, who became the favorite nearly as soon as the windows opened on the Derby Thursday, has not lost a race since breaking his maiden in his third outing, which was his first try at two turns.

Churchill Downs' check for $1.240 million moved his lifetime earnings to $1.888 million.

The $2 exacta paid $336.20, the $1 trifecta was worth more than $8,000, and a $1 superfecta bet, which included fourth-place Classic Empire, returned $75,974.50.

Mike Smith won Friday's Kentucky Oaks aboard Abel Talsman but could only manage a 13th-place finish for Girvin in the Derby. No word on if Fowler was onboard with Always Dreaming, but it would be an appropriate name for Fowler to back. "We have had a great relationship for a long time now, and we have won a lot of races together".

Tapwrit (26-1) won Tampa Bay Derby but was fifth in the Bluegrass Stakes.

Godolphin's Thunder Snow took no part after bucking at the start.

In the Preakness, Always Dreaming is likely to face only two or three of the horses that he beat in the Kentucky Derby. The colt had struggled during the week staying on the track, running away during practices. His prior win came with Super Saver in 2010, also over a sloppy track.

Classic Empire, victor of the 2016 Breeders' Cup Juvenile and the morning line favorite, was jostled at the start. "This is so special to win this race with Johnny". This one we hadn't, and this is the one we wanted to win together. "I played the race in my mind all week and it came out the way I was dreaming about it".

"We got wiped out at the start".

He and McCracken's chances were hampered when they tangled with a couple of other horses leaving the gate.

There's a second dazzling Derby victory to celebrate.

He won that race by 11 lengths, followed that with a 4-length victory in an optional claiming race - although the $350,000 yearling purchase was not eligible to be claimed - and then went into the Florida Derby, which he won by 5 lengths. Gunnevera has shown he has the stamina to pour it on on the backstretch, which is always a concern with three-year-olds who are new to running 1 1/4 miles.

YFH urges our winners to send donations to Belmont Child Care Assn., 2150 Hempstead Tpke, Gate 6, Elmont, N.Y.