Rockland County Times
Don’t look now, but Always Dreaming could win the 2017 Triple Crown after taking this weekend’s Preakness. The young colt took the Kentucky Derby title two weeks ago in Louisville, ousting out Lookin at Lee and Battle of Midway and now has his sights squarely set on Maryland. The front runner was five lengths ahead of Midway two weeks ago, putting his speed on the map in the hideous Louisville slop. With improved conditions and a possible high of 80 degrees this Saturday, it looks like Always Dreaming could be heading for two-thirds of horse racing’s largest achievement.
While he is favored, the field is going to be very competitive. Much like the Derby, some familiar names will be nestled in the gates once again. Runner-up Lookin at Lee and third place winner Battle of Midway return, along with heavy contender Classic Empire. The Canadian trained Empire, who was at one point considered the favorite for the first race of the Triple Crown, had to settle for fourth after a rough start.
Now, why the Preakness will be a much tougher race is because of the fresher field. Aside from the familiar faces listed above, new colts that skipped the Derby will be well rested and ready for their chance in the dirt. Cloud Computing, Conquest Mo Money, Senior Investment, Term of Art and Multiplier will all be challenging the new top dog this weekend. The current betting line on Preakness favors Always Dreaming, as mentioned, but big money could be easier to come by this time around.
Heading into the Derby, the eventual winner had won three straight races and wasn’t paying high at $11.40, $7.20 and $5.80. He entered paying just +250, which is much higher than his current -130 Preakness standing. However, if you look down the list, Lookin at Lee is showing +1,200, while possible dream story underdog Malagacy pays as high as +2,000.
Malagacy, who shares the same trainer as Always Dreaming in Todd A. Pletcher, won his first three races of the season before placing fifth last month in Arkansas. He is a dark horse, no pun intended, and could pay very well should he get out to a quality start at Pimlico on Saturday.