Since 2007, Pletcher has not run any of his Kentucky Derby starters back in the Preakness, except on the two occasions when winning the roses forced his hand. Entries close Wednesday morning, and the post-position draw will be held ontrack Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET.
Prior to his days at Pimlico, Chick Lang worked as an agent for the Hall of Fame jockey Bill Hartack, a five-time victor of the Kentucky Derby.
Highlighted by Derby victor Always Dreaming, the Preakness hopefuls include four other colts who were at Churchill Downs May 3, including second-place finisher Lookin at Lee and the fourth-place Derby horse, Classic Empire. Then State of Honor claimed the early lead, giving Always Dreaming a ideal target to stalk. Trainer Todd Pletcher wanted to give the dark bay colt plenty of time to adjust to his new surroundings since Always Dreaming proved hard to train in the days leading up to the Derby. Pletcher has won the Eclipse Award as Trainer of the Year seven times and has two wins each in the Derby and Belmont (but none in the Preakness).
Only about 18% of the winners in the history of the race have taken them flag fall to that's all so don't quickly buy into the myth about the sharp turns and the Baltimore highway. Trainer Graham Motion shared in a Twitter post that Irish Wary Cry finished the Derby race in "good shape, gave us a thrill turning for home".
Classic Empire won his maiden race by 1 1/2 lengths on the sloppy track at Churchill last May, while Lookin at Lee finished second in the Grade III Iroquois last September.
Pletcher says: "He was moving really well". "It's something I'd love to win".
1 Is Always Dreaming a great horse or did he just have an ideal trip? No less an authority than trainer Bob Baffert called him the best horse in the race. It worked, as Always Dreaming was calm yet eager to run going into the Derby.
The Preakness might be more devoid of speed than typical.
Always Dreaming faces different challenges in the Preakness. Ten of the past 20 Derby winners left Baltimore two for two in their quest for the Triple Crown.
When you get right down to it, Always Dreaming is an old-school kind of horse. Cloud Computing and Term of Art will be coming off six weeks' rest; Conquest Mo Money will have been off for five weeks and Multiplier four weeks.
But Classic Empire did fight like a demon to claim fourth place in the end. "Truthfully, I think he's doing better than ever", said Norman Casse, son and chief assistant to trainer Mark Casse. "And we sure didn't change our minds because of the results of the Derby". Jockey John Velzquez also savored his second Derby win.
"What we've seen, I think, is that he just keeps getting stronger every day", Bush said. But we're just going to take our chance and hopefully he gets a good trip and likes the surface at Pimlico. Royal Mo underwent surgery at the world-famous New Bolton Center, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine's facility in Kennett Square, Pa.
The Southern California-based colt was on the eligible list for the Derby but didn't draw into the field.
The NBC Sports app-NBC Sports Group's live streaming product for mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs-will offer a mosaic of four different camera angles, including the NBC broadcast, an isolation camera on Kentucky Derby victor Always Dreaming, an overhead camera, and Larry Collmus' Preakness Stakes race call live as streamed by a camera in his booth at Pimlico.
Bush, the exercise rider, only started working with Always Dreaming in the days leading up to the Derby when another of Pletcher's riders suggested the colt - victor of all four races he has entered this year - needed a more muscular rider.