Published: Вс, Мая 07, 2017
Sport | By Noel Norman

Always Dreaming wins 2017 Kentucky Derby

Always Dreaming wins 2017 Kentucky Derby

"This is the best horse Todd and I have ever come to the Kentucky Derby with", Velazquez said.

Wood Memorial victor Irish Cry, who was actually second in the wagering at $4.80-to-1, hung with the leaders early for trainer Graham Motion, then faded to 10th in the full field of 20 horses. Pletcher won the race in 2010 with Super Saver.

"We got wiped out at the start", he said.

Battle of Midway, second in the Santa Anita Derby, finished third and Classic Empire, last year's 2-year-old champion and victor of the Arkansas Derby, was fourth after being slammed sideways at the start.

Always Dreaming finished the 1 1/4 miles in 2:03.59. "We've had so much success in the past and we haven't won a Derby but the way this horse did it today was very impressive", Velazquez said.

Always Dreaming won by 2 3/4 lengths.

Rarely one to show his emotions, Pletcher admitted being teary-eyed behind his sunglasses. Once I was going forward, for the first time, I was happy where I was.

Before Saturday, Pletcher had sent 45 horses to the gate over 16 years, a lot of them regally bred and even more insanely hyped. I felt like I really needed the second one ...

Said Velazquez: "Nothing against all the others, but this was the best horse".

Bonomo's son, Anthony Jr., broke the budget buying Always Dreaming for $350,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

"We got wiped out at the start". The trainer of Classic Empire, Mark Casse, was unhappy with the beginning of the race. The track is impossible.

Down the backstretch, the story remained the same as State of Honor and Always Dreaming battled for the lead up front. Despite chasing a quick early pace, Always Dreaming was still full of run. No other horses threatened him down the stretch and Velazquez furiously pumped his right arm as they crossed the finish line.

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"Let's go get some gold", Durkin roared, making his way through the crowd to continue his celebration in the winner's circle. "He did it himself from there".

He was fractious in the morning, refusing to relax. The second step I had to ask him to break. "I was ready to engage (Always Dreaming); he just kind of quit running on me".

It seemed he learned little that day while winning what Pletcher called "an afternoon workout" on a very slow track.

"Mr. Bonomo, Mr. Viola and all of us had talked about a game plan a long time ago back before we chose to run him in a maiden race in Tampa", Pletcher said.

The son of 2012 Arkansas Derby victor Bodemeister arrived in Louisville after a big victory in the Florida Derby and timed workouts that hearkened back to the most recent big horses - American Pharoah and California Chrome.

Always Dreaming became the fifth consecutive favorite to win the Derby.

By winning the Derby, he accomplished something his sire Bodemeister couldn't do.

The race ended with a head-bobbing finish as the pacesetting Believe in Bertie and Roca Rojo hit the wire together. Vincent Viola was born in Brooklyn.

The track was far from ideal, but it also wasn't bad enough to compromise anybody's chances, although a couple of trainers may differ.

Thunder Snow was corralled nearly immediately by an outrider and jogged along the rail as the other 19 contenders in the race headed into the first turn. He was bucking out of the gate. The Irish-bred colt made it back to the barn under his own power and did not appear to be injured.

No rivals were a match for Always Dreaming, who pulled away down the stretch. The win is the second for trainer Todd Pletcher. Understatement of the weekend from Bradley: "Derby Day has really been good to us". You can catch live horse racing at Will Rogers Downs three days a week. Now, after Always Dreaming dominated the Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs, they have "their" Derby. Irish War Cry, who went off as the second choice, faded to 10th. But Asmussen tipped his hat to Pletcher's horse, who would not allow the distance to close. Another longshot, Battle of Midway, finished third. The $2 exacta delivered $336.20, the $1 trifecta $8,297.20 and $1 superfecta a wow-inducing $75,974.50. Practical Joke, 27-1 6.

Velasquez was unaware of the Thunder Snow drama.

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