Pletcher confident of Derby winner at Preakness

19 Mai, 2017, 17:04 | Author: Marie-Claire Cellier
  • Patrick Smith  Getty Images

Former Maryland governor Oden Bowie named the then mile and one-half race in honor of the colt Preakness from Milton Holbrook Sanford's Preakness Stables in Preakness, Wayne Township, New Jersey, who won the Dinner Party Stakes on the day Pimlico opened (October 25, 1870).

Classic Empire has had a fairly light campaign this year, but it has been eventful. Classic Empire did not necessarily have to get to the lead early, but he needed to establish his own pace if he was going to have a chance to mount a late run that would result in a victory. "I hope it doesn't take me that long to get back", said Finley. His personality and gamesmanship gave us a lot of confidence in him going into the Derby. "He's a tough son of a gun". We have no control of how the other horses run but we always feel like he does his best.

Always Dreaming is in top form, with the tactical speed to work out ideal trips.

Classic Empire has the next-best odds to win the 2017 Preakness Stakes at 3/1.

"It's was critical that we made the change at Churchill (Downs)", Pletcher said. And if I was associated with Always Dreaming in any capacity - I think the general tone out of the Classic Empire camp - that would scare me.

"The horse is doing unbelievably well", Pletcher said. "He's always at the front of the stall, has his head out and his ears up and taking in the scenery". Known affectionately as Old Hilltop, this old track has been trying for years to fend off the inevitable conclusion that it's badly in need of a serious makeover.

"I can relish that and enjoy that, too", Lukas said.

"I'm just very, very pleased with the way he's come out of the Derby and the way he looks at Pimlico", Pletcher told the LA Times earlier in the week. Given that the Kentucky Derby was only his second start following his winter training issues, there's a chance that Classic Empire might be poised for another step forward in the Preakness Stakes, which would make him a serious threat. But most Triple Crown seasons, Pletcher skipped the middle jewel in favor of waiting for the Belmont at his NY home base. His best finish was third with Impeachment in 2000. Super Saver finished a exhausted eighth. And Pletcher has never won The Preakness, although he's only tried 8 times. He's ridden two previous Preakness starters for Pletcher: Circular Quay (fifth in 2007) and Stradivari (fourth last year). Senior Investment (Channing Hill, 30-1): He's entering today off a victory in the G3 Lexington at Keeneland and there's something to be said about entering with a little bit of confidence off a victory.

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All eyes are on Pimlico race track in Baltimore this weekend for the running of The Preakness, the second leg in horse racing's Triple Crown.

The storied Kentucky stable also has Term of Art, trained by 2012 Preakness victor Doug O'Neill. This season, he's been winless in four stakes, all at Santa Anita.

Always Dreaming has won all four of his starts this year by a combined 231⁄4 lengths.

The smaller field hopefully will produce a cleaner race than the Derby, in which several horses - including Preakness runners Classic Empire and Hence - were compromised. Hollendorfer was proud of his horse's Derby performance at 40-1 odds.

If you can name the last person to both ride and then train a Preakness victor, consider yourself a horse racing expert. "He's done nothing wrong since we had him".

Eddie Arcaro is the only jockey to win 6 Preakness Stakes, including Citation, the 1948 Triple Crown victor.


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