Rather than dream of the Kentucky Derby (G1), the connections of Alwaysmining have played it more conservatively with the son of Stay Thirsty. On Saturday, Alwaysmining will be a prohibitive favorite in the $125,000 Federico Tesio at Laurel, and a fifth consecutive stakes win in the 1 1/8-mile race would ensure the Runnymede Racing charge a spot in the starting gate for the $1.5 million Preakness (G1) at Pimlico on May 18.
Alwaysmining has won five in a row dating back to October, with dominating scores in the $100,000 Miracle Wood over Derby-bound Gray Magician and $100,000 Private Terms this term. In the waning days of 2018, Alwaysmining also captured the $100,000 Heft over another Kentucky Derby prospect, Win Win Win.
“After the Private Terms there was a little more pressure to go on the road, but we said, ‘This is what we mapped out, it’s been working so far, why deviate from that?'” said Joe Cassidy, racing manager for Runnymede. “He’s a gelding, so his longevity is most important. The best interests of him is most important.
“If [the Preakness] were to happen, you’d have to peel us off the ceiling.”
Installed as the 1-5 morning line favorite, Alwaysmining is one of two Triple Crown nominees among a field of six in the Tesio. The other is Trifor Gold, an improved second to Majid in a one-mile allowance/optional claimer last time.
The likely second choice is Tybalt, a distant third to Alwaysmining in both the Miracle Wood and Private Terms. Dixie Drawl was a non-threatening fourth in the Private Terms but has room for further improvement in only his fourth start. Ex-claimer Bozzini completes the compact field.