By Frank Pingue
(Reuters) – Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming drew the fourth post on Wednesday for Saturday’s 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore where he will seek the second jewel of U.S. thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown.
The Todd Pletcher-trained colt, undefeated in four starts this year as a three-year-old, was rated an odds-on 4-5 morning line favourite after the draw for the 10-horse field in the 1-3/16 mile race at Pimlico.
“It’s fine,” Pletcher said of the draw. “He was four in the Florida Derby, five in the Kentucky Derby. He’s generally a very good horse away from the gate and we’ll just try to come away, establish some position and see what some other horses do.”
Rated the second pick for the Preakness at 3-1 was Classic Empire, who finished fourth at the Kentucky Derby and will break alongside Always Dreaming from the fifth gate.
Classic Empire’s handlers will be hoping for a cleaner race after the Mark Casse-trained colt was bumped and jostled early at a muddy Churchill Downs before finishing respectably.
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.
Antonio Sano-trained Gunnevera, who finished seventh at Churchill Downs, will break from the middle of the pack in the six spot and is a 15-1 shot along with Conquest Money, who drew Gate 10, the farthest outside.
Hence, who will start one spot inside of Always Dreaming, was listed at 20-1 while Multiplier, Term of Art and Senior Investment had the longest odds at 30-1.
The Preakness will be held two weeks after the Kentucky Derby, where co-favourite Always Dreaming stalked the lead for the first half of the 1-1/4 mile classic before taking charge going into the far turn at Churchill Downs.
A repeat of the sloppy track that greeted horses at the Kentucky Derby seems unlikely on Saturday as forecasts are predicting for warm, dry weather in Baltimore.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)