The 142 Preakness Stakes is restricted to only 14 Preakness Stakes runners and will run on Saturday, May 6, 2017, for the first leg of the Triple Crown.
Here is the latest look at Always Dreaming, one of the contenders for the 2017 Preakness Stakes to be run at Pimlico Race Course.
Owner: MeB Racing, Brooklyn Boyz, Teresa Viola, St. Elias, Siena Farm and West Point
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Pedigree: Bodemeister – Above Perfection, by In Excess
Last Race Result: 1st Place, Kentucky Derby, 5/6/17
The Kentucky Derby winner is virtually always the favorite to win the Preakness Stakes, and Always Dreaming isn't an exception to that rule. He was the favorite at the Derby, albeit a relatively long one relative to what we're used to at a winning price of 9 to 2, and he marked the fourth straight Derby winner who was the favorite after a long stretch in time without a favorite winning the bed of roses.
That said, all of the value has effectively been sucked out of Always Dreaming already. He's set as a -125 favorite to win the Preakness as of the early betting lines for the race, but in the end, we suspect he's going to be a tad longer than that and just on the wrong side of odds-on. This year's Preakness Stakes field has the potential to fill up, unlike in recent years, and that alone could make life hard on the Kentucky Derby champion.
Always Dreaming is obviously a legitimate contender to win the Preakness Stakes, and he becomes all the more dangerous if he ends up snaring an inside post. Whereas it's generally death to be starting on the rail at the Kentucky Derby, it's a dream post for the Preakness Stakes, because that first turn at Pimlico comes up in a hurry.
All four of Always Dreaming's wins with John Velazquez on the mount have looked somewhat similar. He's tucked onto the rail, stayed out of trouble, cleared the rest of the field by the halfway point of the race, and outkicked them all to the finish line. He's a frontrunner through and through, and that's a style that generally plays well at the Preakness Stakes. We've seen wins of all kinds from the front of the Preakness Stakes field, including a few big time upsets that spoiled Triple Crown bids when deep closers flat out didn't have enough time or energy to get up to the head of the pack to run down a horse that was figured to be a rabbit.
The biggest question to be asked of Always Dreaming though, is how he'll handle the pressure of not getting an ideal race. He's never really been whipped by Velazquez and doesn't know what it's like to run with dirt in his face, and both of those are a distinct possibility at any given race with more than a dozen thoroughbreds as is expected to be the case at the Preakness Stakes.
The other real concern is the fact that Always Dreaming has never broken a 104 Beyer Speed Rating. This crop of three-year olds has turned out to be incredibly weak though, and he might never have to ultimately beat that to win the Triple Crown. That said, it isn't out of the ordinary to see Beyer Speed Ratings in the 108-110 range, and we haven't seen that type of ability out of Always Dreaming quite yet. Then again, any Beyer above 105 would be unique for everyone in this field, and that's why there's less of a concern that a new challenger could creep up and end the Triple Crown bid after Always Dreaming won the Kentucky Derby.
Is he going to present the best value to win the Preakness Stakes? Probably not. But Always Dreaming is going to be the sentimental favorite, if nothing else, and just as we saw Patch produce an insanely large number of bets on Derby Day for his feel-good story, we might end up seeing the same sort of inflation on Always Dreaming in Baltimore.
With a maximum of 14 horses accepted into the Preakness Stakes field, there is a significant vetting process to qualify the horses among this group of three-year olds. Horses which finish in the Top 5 at the Kentucky Derby are automatically eligible, while the remaining slots are awarded based on career earnings in both graded stakes races and restricted races.
The Road to the Preakness Stakes ended with the day of racing at the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 6, though the Preakness Stakes field won't be finalized until the post draw occurs on Wednesday, May 17.
|Always Dreaming||Brooklyn Boyz Stables, et al||Todd Pletcher||John Velazquez||Track Odds|
|Classic Empire||John C. Oxley||Mark Casse||Julien Leparoux||Track Odds|
|Cloud Computing||Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence||Chad Brown||Javier Castellano||Track Odds|
|Conquest Mo Money||Judge Lanier Racing||Miguel Hernandez||Jorge Carreno||Track Odds|
|Gunnevera||Peacock Racing Stables||Antonio Sano||Mike Smith||Track Odds|
|Hence||Calumet Farm||Steve Asmussen||Florent Geroux||Track Odds|
|Lookin at Lee||L and N Racing LLC||Steve Asmussen||Corey Lanerie||Track Odds|
|Multiplier||Gary Barber, et al||Brendan Walsh||Joel Rosario||Track Odds|
|Senior Investment||Fern Circle Stables||Ken McPeek||Channing Hill||Track Odds|
|Term of Art||Calumet Farm||Doug O'Neill||Jose Ortiz||Track Odds|
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|Previous Preakness winners||The Birth of the Preakness||How the Preakness got its Name|
|History of Pimlico Race Course||Pimlico's Historic Clubhouse||The Woodlawn Vase|
|The Painting of the Weather Vane||The Visa Triple Crown||Preakness Stakes Contenders|
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