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Always Dreaming checks into Pimlico’s Stall 40 for Preakness

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BALTIMORE (AP) Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming made himself right at home Tuesday in Stall 40 at Pimlico Race Course, munching on hay while his handlers scurried around him.

The bay colt was in excellent spirits after traveling from Churchill Downs to Pimlico, where he will spend the next 11 days before running in the Preakness.

Always Dreaming was pampered by assistant trainer Ginny DePasquale, who will be joined by her boss, trainer Todd Plentcher, on Wednesday.

“I just spoke to Todd and told him: `The horse looks very bright-eyed. He looks very happy,”‘ DePasquale said. “It’s pretty special to see him looking that well. I’m happy and I know Todd is.”

Stall 40 is traditionally reserved for the Kentucky Derby winner and has housed many of the greatest champions in horse racing history. Secretariat and Seattle Slew are among several Triple Crown winners who resided there, but Always Dreaming is the first Derby winner to cozy into Stall 40 since California Chrome in 2014.

“It’s actually very exciting because we think he’s a really, really special horse,” DePasquale said.

The 1 3/16-mile Preakness will be run May 20. The notion behind bringing Always Dreaming to Pimlico well in advance of the race was twofold: to avoid excessive travel and to let the horse get familiar with his surroundings.

Instead of transporting the New York-based Always Dreaming from Kentucky to Belmont and back to Baltimore, Pletcher figured it was best just to eliminate the trip to New York.

“All that traveling, it doesn’t really take anything out of him, but you never really know,” DePasquale said. “It’s simpler to bring him here, let him settle in and save all that shipping back and forth.”

The plan is for Always Dreaming to jog around the track Wednesday and “probably gallop” on Thursday, according to DePasquale.

Sometime next week, things will begin to get hectic at Pimlico. Until then, Always Dreaming will have the place pretty much to himself.

“Yeah, I think that’s the important part – just let him look around without all the excitement,” DePasquale said. “That way, he can take everything in. And then slowly but surely, all the excitement starts.”

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.