Always Dreaming is 4-5 early favorite for Preakness


"Historically, I think the horses that have run well in the Derby run back well in the Preakness". If one wasn't good enough to earn their way into that starting gate, it stands to reason they would need a massive form jump in order to topple the holdovers already established as the division's elite at that stage.

Due to the simulcasting of the 142nd Preakness Stakes from Pimlico Race Course, Buffalo Raceway will have a special 7 p.m. post time for its live harness racing program on Saturday evening (May 20). Always Dreaming is the 4-5 favorite, despite beating Lookin at Lee by a mere 2 3/4 lengths at Churchill Downs.

Classic Empire trainer Mark Casse also was nonchalant about the draw. "They might go right at it from the start". Before the second race in the Triple Crown takes place, get to know all about Classic Empire. Of that group, Aloma's Ruler, Deputed Testamony, and Rachel Alexandra were each still coming into the 1 3/16-mile test off a turnaround of 15 days or fewer from their prior outing.

Kentucky Derby runner-up Lookin at Lee drew the ninth post position and was a 10-1 third choice for the Preakness while Cloud Computing, who will break from the second gate, was the next best pick at 12-1. He's generally a very good horse coming away from the gate.

If Always Dreaming and jockey John Velazquez win Saturday, next up would be the Belmont Stakes on June 10. The first official Preakness was won by Survivor with a 10 length cushion between him and second place. Not bad for a two year old champion who survived an injury and missed training time last winter to get this far.

One of Always Dreaming's owners, Vinnie Viola, spent a sleepless Tuesday night watching clips of the most famous rivalries in racing history: Affirmed-Alydar, Sunday Silence-Easy Goer, Secretariat-Sham.

Casse likes the neighboring posts.

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"Governor (Larry) Hogan has made it clear that he wants to see the Preakness stay in Baltimore", Hogan spokeswoman Amelia Chasse said Wednesday.

Classic Empire's handlers aren't the only ones eager for another shot at Always Dreaming. It's always nice to have a horse going for the Triple Crown.

Always Dreaming has one leg down and two more to go.

Here's how the field looks with the early odds from Pimlico. When he sent Stradivari out to a fourth-place finish in the Preakness a year ago, it was his first starter in the race since Dance City in 2011. He drew the No. 9 post. He will break from the No. 2 hole. Lookin at Lee is 10-1 in the morning line.

Following a seventh in the Santa Anita Derby, in which a grueling pace would have figured to play to his closing style and make him a factor, he probably will be the longest shot in the Preakness at odds of 30-1 or higher.

Calumet Farm is bringing back Hence for another try at Always Dreaming. The storied Kentucky stable also has Term of Art, trained by 2012 Preakness victor Doug ONeill.

Pensive was the first horse to start in the Belmont Stakes but fail to win the Triple Crown after winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.