The victor of the Preakness Stakes gets 60 percent of the $1.5 million purse, - $900,000 - down to 3 percent for fifth. A horse may not be at his best only two weeks after giving a top effort. There's no avoiding each other for Kentucky Derby victor Always Dreaming and rival Classic Empire.
Always Dreaming, the colt that galloped to victory in the Kentucky Derby, is the favorite at the 142nd Preakness Stakes on Saturday.
The other issue for Always Dreaming and Pletcher: Another really good horse called Classic Empire, which finished fourth at the Derby, 8 3/4 lengths behind Always Dreaming. They enter deep waters in the Preakness, but the smaller field size and outside post are both positives heading into the race. The winner's share of the $1.5-million Preakness purse is worth $900,000.
Thirteen winners have started from the No. 4 post, most recently Curlin in 2007. "Give him an A-plus for the changes he made and keeping Always Dreaming and his energy level under control so he could use it on Saturday instead of the days leading up to it".
Post positions were drawn Wednesday on a steamy, 92-degree day at Pimlico.
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It was the exact opposite of Always Dreaming, who ran superbly under jockey John Velazquez. California Chrome started the trend in 2014 before faltering in the Belmont, while American Pharoah went on to become the first Triple Crown victor in almost four decades in 2015. Classic Empire finished fourth in the Derby, but it was a creditable performance after a rough start, and he should do better Saturday.
Take past year: In the Derby, Nyquist faced only one other solid front-runner, ran close to the early lead on a comfortable pace, took the lead on the turn for home and went on to win. He has won nine Breeders' Cup races and four Triple Crown races, while finishing second or third 13 other times. "It's got nothing to do with revenge because Always Dreaming did nothing wrong. We don't want to see him get too excited and step on himself".
Casse likes the neighboring posts.
He never was a real charismatic, amusing person, mentor and Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said, but he always handled himself well..
"To me", Casse said Thursday after praising Always Dreaming and Conquest Mo Money, "the rest, they'll need to come with a game higher than they've shown so far". Dilger acknowledges that horses were part of his upbringing and something he always wanted to do with his life.
"I think that is one of the reasons why Todd typically doesn't run his horses back in the Preakness from the Kentucky Derby".
This could be setting up like 2000 when Pegasus had a ideal trip around the track at the Derby and then had to make two wide turns at the Preakness and finished second. He drew the No. 9 post. He will break from the No. 2 hole.
Regardless of the Preakness outcome, Conquest Mo Money is already a victor for New Mexico-based owner Tom McKenna, 81, who paid only $8,500 for the colt last November at the dispersal sale of Conquest Stable horses.
The field is rounded out by a trio of 30-1 shots: Multiplier, Senior Investment and Term of Art. The storied Kentucky stable also has Term of Art, trained by 2012 Preakness victor Doug O'Neill.
Trainer Steve Asmussen will saddle two starters: Looking At Lee and Hence.
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