Published: Mon, May 08, 2017
Technology | By Kate Woods

Always Dreaming wins 143rd Kentucky Derby

Always Dreaming wins 143rd Kentucky Derby

A succession of Brooklyn accents spoke loudly in the joyous aftermath of Always Dreaming's 2 3/4-length victory as the favorite at Churchill Downs.

The 3-year-old son of Bodemeister splashed home to a 2 3/4-length victory to don the roses bestowed upon the victor of America's most famous race for the 143rd time.

Grab your giant hat and a mint julep cause we're off to the races!

It seems insane that it takes but two minutes to decide who will win a race that has been discussed and debated ad nauseam for weeks leading up to the race. The race usually lasts about two minutes. Though the final time was a relatively slow 2:03.59 on a sloppy track, Always Dreaming sat second off a fast pace through the first half mile, took the lead heading into the far turn and impressively opened up when Velazquez asked him to accelerate.

Todd Pletcher won his second Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs thanks to Always Dreaming's comfortable success on Saturday.

Durkin, who called the Kentucky Derby for national television every year from 1984 until stepping down in 2011, experienced the ultimate thrill in horse ownership when the Todd Pletcher-trained colt won the Run for the Roses as the 9-2 favorite in a field of 20.

Jockey Mario Gutierrez (Irap) sought to become the first to win his first three Derby mounts. Pletcher changed exercise riders and some equipment to get him to calm down. He was no doubt the alpha horse when he took over at the top of the stretch putting away every challenger easily.

"There were a few anxious moments early in the week", Pletcher said. "He's a very young horse without a lot of experience and the way he did it today was very impressive". "I thought we had a big shot when we were turning for home". We're thankful we did it. Pletcher said the draw reins would remain on for training, and Bush would remain in the saddle at Pimlico.

In a year where it was tough to predict a victor and the weather made it all the more hard, the 143rd annual Kentucky Derby offered the same excitement fans are accustomed to. Velazquez had won his only one on now Australian based sire Animal Kingdom.

The crowning achievement for the New Yorkers also provided redemption of sorts for Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez.

"I don't think I'm a better trainer now than I was an hour ago", Pletcher said at the post-race news conference. "Finally we got it together with this horse - incredible horse".

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Although the track was hit by torrential rain during the afternoon, the sun came out out just before the off, which saw Velazquez position Always Dreaming in second behind front-runner State Of Honor.

"This is the best place to come and enjoy the ambiance of the Kentucky Derby in Oklahoma", Will Rogers Downs general manager Rusty Stamps said. That hurdle cleared, Pletcher mapped out a cautious plan that had Always Dreaming skip the Fountain of Youth, a traditional prep for the Florida Derby, in favor of an allowance race on the same day at Gulfstream Park. Irish War Cry, 9/2 11.

Lookin At Lee finished in second place, and Battle of Midway rounded out the top three. Battle of Midway was jockeyed by Derby rookie Flavien Prat. And he got into a good rhythm right away.

Thunder Snow did not finish the race.

He galloped into hearts across the country when he earned a spot for the first time to run for the prestigious prize, now in its 143rd year. Battle of Midway, running his first race outside of Santa Anita in California, paid $20.80 to finish third for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. "I felt like this week, people were defending it for me for some reason".

Pletcher made two decisions at Churchill Downs recently that turned the winning colt around. "He was traveling and carrying me".

The name meant a lot to Anthony, especially after the Derby win. That will be followed by the Belmont on June 10. "They'll be another chance", said Lanerie when posed with that possible option. And there was no consensus pre-race favorite, no American Pharaoh - the 2015 victor who captured the first Triple Crown in 37 years - to grab the betting public's imagination.

While that is certainly true, a second Derby is big.

It was the 143rd running of the Derby, which serves as the first leg of horse racing's Triple Crown (Preakness, Belmont). "He's a fresh horse, but two weeks is a quick turnaround". If he can win in Baltimore, he'll give his Brooklyn born-and-bred owners the thrill of a lifetime, going for the Triple Crown in front of their home crowd in NY.

This time he'll be there.

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