Always Dreaming avoided a bad draw Wednesday, receiving post 4 in Saturday’s $1.5 million Preakness (G1), and the Kentucky Derby winner will square off against nine rivals in the 1 3/16-mile test at Pimlico. The Todd Pletcher-trained colt was listed as the 4-5 morning line favorite with John Velazquez.
The dark bay son of Bodemeister brings a four-race win skein into the middle leg of the American Triple Crown, with a 2 ¾-length tally at Churchill Downs two weeks previously being the smallest win margin. Always Dreaming figures to be on or close to the pace from the start.
Classic Empire is the main challenger and will break to the immediate outside of Always Dreaming. Winner of the Arkansas Derby (G1) two back, the 2-year-old champ was severely interfered with when being roughed up at the start of the Kentucky Derby but offered a commendable rally for fourth. He’s eligible to move forward significantly in the third start off the layoff for trainer Mark Casse and Julien Leparoux rides the Pioneerof the Nile colt. Classic Empire is the early 3-1 second choice.
Kentucky Derby runner-up Lookin at Lee comes next on the morning line at 10-1 but the confirmed closer must shift outside to post 9 after saving all the ground from the innermost gate last time. Corey Lanerie guides the Steve Asmussen runner. The conditioner is also responsible for Hence, a sharp winner of the Sunland Derby (G3) two back who is seeking to rebound from a troubled 11th in the Kentucky Derby. He’s 20-1 with Florent Geroux from post 3.
Cloud Computing joins the Triple Crown mix and has been rated as the 12-1 fourth choice in his first start outside of Aqueduct. A debut maiden winner on February 11, the Chad Brown pupil followed with a second in the Gotham (G3) and a third in the Wood Memorial (G2). Javier Castellano picks up the assignment.
Grade 2 victor Gunnevera returns for the Preakness after a seventh in the Kentucky Derby and was placed at 15-1 on the morning line. The remaining contestants are new shooters: Arkansas Derby runner-up Conquest Mo Money (15-1 morning line); Illinois Derby (G3) scorer Multiplier (30-1), Lexington (G3) winner Senior Investment (30-1) and Grade 2-place Term of Art (30-1).