05/17/2017 4:35PM

Always Dreaming draws post 4 as 4-5 favorite in Preakness Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Always Dreaming trains at Pimlico on Monday.

BALTIMORE – Always Dreaming, the Kentucky Derby winner, drew post 4 and his main rival, Classic Empire, will start right alongside side him in post 5, those two among a field of 10 set on Wednesday to go in the 142nd Preakness Stakes on Saturday at Pimlico.

The post draw sets up a potential early battle between Always Dreaming, who was near the front throughout in the Derby, and Classic Empire, who was wiped out at the start of the Derby and was shuffled back early.

“I just want him to have a good break and see what happens,” said Mark Casse, the trainer of Classic Empire, who said Classic Empire could even be on the lead “if he breaks running.”

Always Dreaming has more natural speed and is the more likely pacesetter. Conquest Mo Money, who must start from post 10, figures to be prominent early, too.

Always Dreaming started from post 5 in a field of 20 in the Kentucky Derby.

“He’s generally a very good horse in the gate,” said his trainer, Todd Pletcher, who is seeking his first Preakness win with his ninth starter.

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Always Dreaming is the 4-5 favorite on the line set by Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form’s national handicapper. Classic Empire, fourth in the Derby, is next on Watchmaker’s line at 7-2, with Derby runner-up Lookin At Lee the third choice at 10-1.

Keith Feustle, who makes the line at Pimlico, also has Always Dreaming at 4-5, with Classic Empire at 3-1 and Lookin At Lee at 10-1.

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From the rail out, the field is Multiplier (Joel Rosario the rider), Cloud Computing (Javier Castellano), Hence (Florent Geroux), Always Dreaming (John Velazquez), Classic Empire (Julien Leparoux), Gunnevera (Mike Smith), Term of Art (Jose Ortiz), Senior Investment (Channing Hill), Lookin At Lee (Corey Lanerie), and Conquest Mo Money (Jorge Carreno).

There were no surprises at entry time, as the 10 expected to enter all entered, with no late additions.

The Preakness is race 13 on a 14-race card. The purse for the 1 3/16-mile race is $1.5 million. Post time is 6:48 p.m. Eastern and the race will be shown live by NBC.

After a mild morning, with temperatures in the low 60s, the heat and humidity got turned up on Wednesday, reaching the mid-90s. According to Weather.com, the forecast is for similarly hot weather on Thursday and into Friday before a thunderstorm late Friday that is expected to bring relief to the area and produce a gorgeous day on Saturday, with a high of 69 degrees under partly sunny skies.

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Multiplier  30-1 20-1 88 ** JP: Has won last two with moderate figs. Needs significant improvement to be a factor vs. these.
  by The Factor         MW: Not only does he need around a 15-point Beyer jump, he also needs pace to set him up, too.
  Owner: Gary Barber, Adam Wachtel & George Kerr; Trainer: Brendan Walsh; Jockey: Joel Rosario
Cloud Computing  12-1 12-1 96 ** JP: Like that lightly raced colt bypassed Derby to point for this. Final work, on video, quite good.
  by Maclean's Music         MW: His third in the Wood is better than it looks on paper. He ran against a speed bias that day.
  Owner: Klaravich Stables & William Lawrence.; Trainer: Chad Brown; Jockey: Javier Castellano
Hence  20-1 15-1 97 11th, 77 JP: Lost position early in Derby, had to go around tiring rivals on far turn. Has a right to improve.
  by Street Boss         MW: Still not sold on his Sunland Derby win two starts back as he was perfectly set up. Not for me.
  Owner: Calumet Farm; Trainer: Steve Asmussen; Jockey: Florent Geroux
Always Dreaming  4-5 4-5 102 1st, 102 JP: Unbeaten in all four starts since Pletcher took over, all around two turns, and all by daylight.
  by Bodemeister         MW: Easily best at CD, especially when you consider the other pace players were soundly beaten.
  Owner: Brooklyn Boyz Stables, Teresa Viola Racing Stables, et al; Trainer: Todd Pletcher; Jockey: John Velazquez
Classic Empire  3-1 7-2 102 4th, 90 JP: Brutal trip in the Derby. Mugged at the start, forced to rally wide on final turn to avoid traffic.
  by Pioneerof the Nile         MW: Since he had just one representative effort in five months, it makes his Derby try remarkable.
  Owner: John Oxley; Trainer: Mark Casse; Jockey: Julien Leparoux
Gunnevera  15-1 15-1 97 7th, 84 JP: Was wide final half of Derby but never really fired. Wonder if he's over the top at the moment.
  by Dialed In         MW: Maybe he didn't like the track, maybe that's reaching. Declining Beyers, might be tailing off.
  Owner: Peacock Racing Stables; Trainer: Antonio Sano; Jockey: Mike Smith
Term of Art  30-1 30-1 92 ** JP: Fanned wide into late in SA Derby, but considering hot pace, should have made bigger impact.
  by Tiznow         MW: Has had four starts this year and wasn't remotely close to winning in any of them. An outsider.
  Owner: Calumet Farm; Trainer: Doug O'Neill; Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Senior Investment  30-1 30-1 89 ** JP: Has crossed wire first in four of last five starts, got ideal trip and ride to annex the Lexington.
  by Discreetly Mine         MW: Lucky to win the Lexington. Third place finisher No Dozing was best, and he has since lost.
  Owner: Fern Circle Stables; Trainer: Kenny McPeek; Jockey: Channing Hill
Lookin At Lee  10-1 10-1 98 2nd, 98 JP: Had plenty of pace into which to rally, got dream run along rail, best part of the track in Derby.
  by Lookin At Lucky         MW: Several horses ran well away from the rail on Derby Day, but agree on his incredibly easy trip.
  Owner: L and N Racing; Trainer: Steve Asmussen; Jockey: Corey Lanerie  
Conquest Mo Money  15-1 15-1 93 ** JP: Repelled all challengers in Ark. Derby before Classic Empire nailed him late. Can be pace factor.
  by Uncle Mo         MW: You could make a strong case that he ran the best race in Ark. Derby. Beyers are light, though.
  Owner: Judge Lanier Racing; Trainer: Miguel Hernandez; Jockey: Jorge Carreno