Fresh horses await Derby winner Always Dreaming in Preakness

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Always Dreaming is headed to the Preakness in two weeks, when the Kentucky Derby winner is likely to face several fresh horses that skipped the first leg of the Triple Crown.

A majority of the 20-horse field that ran on a sloppy Churchill Downs track in Saturday’s Derby won’t go on to Baltimore.

Trainer Todd Pletcher said Sunday that Always Dreaming will head to Baltimore on Tuesday so the 3-year-old colt has plenty of time to adjust to his new surroundings ahead of the 1 3/16-mile race to be run May 20.

“At Pimlico, there’s generally not a lot of horses training there,” he said. “It will be a quiet environment, give us time to get him settled in and if we have to make any adjustments, we’ll have time to do that.”

Always Dreaming will take up residence in stall No. 40, which traditionally houses the Derby winner in the Pimlico stakes barn.

The dark bay colt was difficult to train in the days leading to the Derby, forcing Pletcher to adjust his equipment. Eventually, Always Dreaming settled down and won by 2} lengths, equaling the longest streak of favorites to win since five in a row did so in the 1890s.

“He’s really got some spring in his step this morning,” Pletcher said.

The 49-year-old trainer and jockey John Velazquez won their second Derbies. Pletcher was still sorting through hundreds of congratulatory text messages, including ones from Hall of Fame basketball coach Lute Olson and Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett.

No horse asserted his dominance in the winter prep races leading up to the 143rd Derby. As the winner, Always Dreaming certainly commands respect. However, the colt isn’t scaring away the competition in the Preakness.

The field for the second leg of the Triple Crown is capped at 14 – six fewer than the Derby.

“There’s not that much separation from this bunch of 3-year-olds right now, from what I can see, other than maybe the winner yesterday,” said trainer Ken McPeek, who is pointing Lexington Stakes winner Senior Investment toward the Preakness.

Among Always Dreaming’s Derby rivals, second-place finisher Lookin At Lee and 13th-place Girvin are possible for the Preakness. If an issue with fourth-place Classic Empire’s right eye clears up, he could join them.

Classic Empire got banged into by McCraken in the start of a chain-reaction collision and his eye was nearly closed shut on Sunday.

“I’d like another crack at everybody because he had a trip from hell,” trainer Mark Casse said. “He looks a bit like Muhammad Ali after a rough night.”

Southern California-based Royal Mo, who didn’t get into the Derby, will run in the Preakness.

Gunnevera, who was seventh in the Derby, is another possibility.

Other possible new shooters include Illinois Derby winner Multiplier, Cloud Computing, Conquest Mo Money and Lancaster Bomber from the barn of Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien.

Preakness winner Cloud Computing to skip Belmont Stakes

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NEW YORK —¬†Preakness winner Cloud Computing won’t run in the Belmont Stakes, leaving the final leg of the Triple Crown without the winners of the first two races.

Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming also won’t run in the 1+-mile Belmont on June 10 in New York.

Trainer Chad Brown confirmed Sunday that Cloud Computing would skip the Belmont, which had been expected.

Brown will still have a starter in the $1.5 million race: Twisted Tom, who won the Federico Tesio on April 22. Because Twisted Tom wasn’t already nominated to the Triple Crown series, it will cost $75,000 to get him in the race. He will try to become the third gelding in history to win.

Other confirmed Belmont runners are Classic Empire, Japan-based Epicharis, J Boys Echo, Lookin At Lee, Senior Investment, Tapwrit and True Timber. Irap, Meantime and Multiplier are considered likely.

Also possible are Conquest Mo Money, Gormley, Hollywood Handsome, Irish War Cry and Patch.

The Belmont field is limited to 16 horses.

Lady Eli ends skid with win in Grade 1 Gamely at Santa Anita

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ARCADIA, Calif. — Lady Eli won the $300,000 Gamely Stakes for fillies and mares by a half-length at Santa Anita, ending a two-race skid as the heavy 3-5 favorite.

Ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Lady Eli ran 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:45.29 on Saturday.

Goodyearforroses was second, followed by Avenge, Mokat and Pretty Girl.

Lady Eli paid $3.20, $2.20 and $2.10. All but $18,388 of the total show pool of $315,505 was wagered on her in the Grade 1 race.

The 5-year-old dark brown mare has eight wins in 11 career starts and has never finished worse than second for New York-based trainer Chad Brown, who won the Preakness with Cloud Computing last weekend.

Lady Eli was coming off two close losses: by a nose in the Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland in April and by a head in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf last November.