05/09/2017 2:41PM

Preakness Doings: An energetic Always Dreaming arrives at Pimlico

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Emily Shields
Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming arrived at Pimlico on Tuesday at 11:15 a.m.

ELMONT, N.Y. - While his Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming was en route to Baltimore Tuesday morning, trainer Todd Pletcher was at his home base of Belmont Park, overseeing the training of about 40 head of horses, many of whom he hasn’t seen in a while.

“The hardest thing so far is getting caught up on everything else,” said Pletcher, who also has horses in Saratoga and south Florida. “You’re always playing catch-up after the Derby whether you win or not, certainly after you win more so.”

Pletcher certainly isn’t complaining. He was happy to have the chance to come back to New York to see his horses and his family. Pletcher plans to catch up with Always Dreaming on Wednesday afternoon to continue preparations for the Preakness Stakes on May 20.

Always Dreaming arrived at Pimlico at 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, following a flight from Louisville to Baltimore. He was accompanied on the plane by stablemate Moana, a 3-year-old filly pointing to the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes on May 19, and Preakness candidate Royal Mo, the Grade 3 Robert Lewis winner trained by John Shirreffs who was unable to draw into the Kentucky Derby from the also-eligible list.

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When Pletcher left Always Dreaming Monday afternoon, he certainly was pleased with how the Derby winner had handled the race.

“Unbelievable” is the word Pletcher used to describe how Always Dreaming looked Monday morning at Churchill. Pletcher said the colt was “pulling the hotwalker around the barn” and had been eating well.

“The turnaround is quick,” Pletcher said. “Sometimes you don’t know how they’re going to perform until you get to the top of the stretch. So far, all the signs that you’d be hoping for - sound, enthusiastic, energetic, strong appetite, all those things - are good, but you still got to run a mile and three-sixteenths. I’m hoping he shows us good energy on the racetrack yet not as strong as he was at Churchill. Hoping Pimlico will provide that quieter environment.”

Always Dreaming had gotten extremely aggressive in the morning at Churchill. So much so that Pletcher had the horse gallop in draw reins for five days leading up to the race. He also replaced exercise riders.

Given that, Pletcher said shipping to Pimlico early was something he began thinking about even before the Derby was run. There aren’t that many horses stabled at Pimlico and the track is certainly quieter than had he stayed at Churchill or shipped to Belmont Park.

Pletcher said Always Dreaming would simply jog Wednesday morning at Pimlico before beginning to gallop on Thursday. He reiterated Tuesday what he said Sunday morning - that the horse would not have a workout before the Preakness.

“I’m not going to breeze him no matter what,” Pletcher said. “He’s fit, that’s not an issue. Two mile-and-an-eighth races and the Derby and now back in 14 days, I don’t see any reason to do anything.”

Multiplier has new owners, jockey

Illinois Derby winner Multiplier will run for new owners in the Preakness Stakes. He will also have a new jockey, as Joel Rosario has been given the mount.

Gary Barber, Adam Wachtel, and George Kerr purchased Multiplier from American Equistock about 10 days ago. The horse will remain with trainer Brendan Walsh.

Wachtel was part-owner of Exaggerator, the 2016 Preakness winner, and said there was a lot to like regarding Multiplier.

“Obviously, his Illinois Derby was a big effort,” Wachtel said. “Looking at his sheet numbers, he had a great-looking Ragozin line. We really liked his video.”

Multiplier, a son of The Factor, has won 2 of 4 starts, including the Illinois Derby by a head over Hedge Fund on April 22.

“Having to take on nice horses like Always Dreaming and Classic Empire, the advantage is that we got a little extra rest,” Wachtel said. “That and we think we got a nice colt. As of today, we plan to give it a try.”

Later Tuesday afternoon, Wachtel confirmed that Rosario will ride Multiplier in the Belmont. Rosario replaces James Graham, who rode Multiplier to victory in the Illinois Derby.

Wachtel said he has good luck with Rosario, noting that he rode Tourist to victory in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile. Rosario also rode Long On Value to a close second in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint on the Dubai World Cup undercard.

Multiplier is expected to have a workout at Keeneland on Sunday, and provided that all goes well, he will take the Tuesday flight from Kentucky to Baltimore. That flight is also expected to bring Classic Empire, Lookin At Lee, Hence, and Senior Investment to Baltimore.

Gunnevera is expected to van from Kentucky to Baltimore on Saturday.

Castellano on Cloud Computing 

Javier Castellano, winner of the 2006 Preakness on Bernardini, has been confirmed as the rider of Cloud Computing for this year's Preakness, trainer Chad Brown confirmed via text.

Castellano rode Gunnevera to a seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. Castellano informed trainer Antonio Sano that he couldn’t ride Gunnevera in the Preakness, so on Monday Sano secured the services of Mike Smith.

On Monday, Brown said he had not yet finalized a rider for Cloud Computing.

Manny Franco rode Cloud Computing to a debut victory and a second-place finish in the Gotham, both over Aqueduct's inner track. Irad Ortiz Jr. rode Cloud Computing a third-place finish in the Wood Memorial over Aqueduct's main track.

PREAKNESS CONTENDERS
Horse Trainer Jockey Last Race/Finish
Always Dreaming    Todd Pletcher John Velazquez Kentucky Derby, 1st
Classic Empire Mark Casse Julien Leparoux Kentucky Derby, 4th
Cloud Computing     Chad Brown Javier Castellano Wood Memorial, 3rd
Conquest Mo Money Miguel Hernandez Jorge Carreno Arkansas Derby, 2nd
Gunnevera       Antonio Sano Mike Smith Kentucky Derby, 7th
Hence Steve Asmussen Florent Geroux Kentucky Derby, 11th
Lookin At Lee     Steve Asmussen Corey Lanerie Kentucky Derby, 2nd
Multiplier  Brendan Walsh Joel Rosario Illinois Derby, 1st
Royal Mo John Shirreffs Gary Stevens Santa Anita Derby, 3rd
Senior Investment Kenny McPeek Channing Hill Lexington Stakes, 1st