Always Dreaming put on a terrific display over a wet race track in Saturday's $2 million Kentucky Derby (G1), winning the first leg of the Triple Crown by 2 3/4-lengths under a perfect ride from John Velazquez.
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Widely regarded as the horse to beat leading up to the Run for the Roses, the 3-year-old Bodemeister colt cast aside any doubts with his dominating performance that saw the Todd Pletcher trainee stalk longshot State of Honor for the first five furlongs before taking command.
From that point on, Always Dreaming was never headed and easily held off a late-closing Looking At Lee to take his place in racing history.
Always Dreaming covered the 1 1/4 miles on a wet-fast track in 2:03.59.
“I knew we had a big shot with this horse and I was hoping it would happen,” said Pletcher, who trains the colt for MeB Racing, Brooklyn Boyz, Teresa Viola, St. Elias, Siena Farm and West Point Thoroughbreds. “The trip unfolded not exactly the way we had planned. We knew for sure we didn’t want to be behind a wall of horses and that turned out OK. Johnny (Velazquez) of course rode him great. This is so special to win this race with Johnny. We’ve been together for all these years and this is sweet.”
The victory was worth $1,635,800, while Saturday’s payday increased his earnings to $2,284,700 with a record of 6-4-1-1, including a win in the Florida Derby (G1), Always Dreaming's last start prior to Saturday.
For Bodemeister, he is now the sire of a Derby winner from his first crop, with Always Dreaming eclipsing his sire's second-place finish in the 2012 Run for the Roses. Bodemeister is now the runaway leading Second-Crop Sire with over $2.8 million in progeny earnings to date.