Getty Images

Always Dreaming checks into Pimlico’s Stall 40 for Preakness

Leave a comment

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.”

Saratoga, without Justify, ready to go for 150th meet

NBC Sports
Leave a comment

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Triple Crown winner Justify won’t be running during the 150th meet at Saratoga Race Course, but many of the best thoroughbreds will be at the historic track for the 40-day season.

The meet features 69 stakes races worth $18.8 million in purses and opens Friday. Among those running this season will be Good Magic, Hofburg, Gronkowski, Vino Rosso, and Bravazo.

Todd Pletcher is eyeing his 13th training title in 16 years. He won last year with 40 winners, one more than Chad Brown.

Justify has returned to Del Mar in California after swelling in his left front ankle emerged two weeks ago. Trainer Bob Baffert says Justify probably will walk around the stable area the next two weeks.

The colt likely will return in the fall, the ultimate goal being the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in November.

Triple Crown winner Justify under observation at Del Mar

Getty Images
Leave a comment

DEL MAR, Calif. (AP) Triple Crown winner Justify has re-located to Del Mar where trainer Bob Baffert is keeping him under observation after swelling in his left front ankle emerged two weeks ago.

Baffert says Justify will probably just walk around the stable area for the next two weeks at the track north of San Diego. The probable scenario for the colt is a return to racing sometime in the fall with the ultimate goal being the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in November.

“Right now, we’re just looking to get him 100 percent,” Baffert said Monday. “We’re in a holding pattern. I’d love to run him again because he’s so much fun and exciting to watch. We should know more in a couple of weeks.”

Justify has won all six starts in his brief career that began this year. He has won four straight Grade 1 races, including a sweep of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont to become horse racing’s 13th Triple Crown champion.

The colt hasn’t had a workout since the Belmont Stakes on June 9.