March 22, 2023

Preakness-bound Alwaysmining dynamite in Tesio

Alwaysmining stamped his Preakness ticket with an 11 1/2-length victory in the Federico Tesio at Laurel Park (c) Maryland Jockey Club

Alwaysmining continued to impress with an 11 ½-length romp in Saturday’s $125,000 Federico Tesio at Laurel Park and will head to the May 18 Preakness at Pimlico with a six-race win streak. Kelly Rubley trains for Runnymede Racing and Daniel Centeno has been the regular rider.

“As long as we come back OK, that’s our goal,” Rubley said of the Preakness.

A Maryland-bred gelding by Stay Thirsty, Alwaysmining has made his last nine starts at Laurel Park. He opened 2019 with a 4 ¼-length tally in the February 16 Miracle Wood and continued to roll when stretching out to two turns in the March 16 Private Terms at 1 1/16 miles, scoring by 6 ¾ lengths. The 1 1/8-mile Tesio served as a “Win & You’re In” for the Preakness and Alwaysmining will certainly enter the second leg of the Triple Crown on the upswing.

After posting five consecutive wire-to-wire wins, Alwaysmining showed his tractability as he rated just off the pace during the opening five-eighths. The 1-9 favorite slingshot to the lead with an eye-catching turn of foot on the far turn, entering the stretch with a widening advantage while Centeno sat chilly in the saddle.

Alwaysmining drew off spectacularly in the final furlongs and stopped the teletimer in 1:50.12.

“You just hate to get overconfident, but this is what I had expected to happen so I’m really glad it came true,” Rubley said. “We’re all very excited. It’s a fabulous day.”

“The plan was to try to make the lead, but I didn’t want to chase them, so I let them go,” Centeno said of the change in tactics. “I decided to take him back and put him behind them. He was comfortable, nice and relaxed. I put him on the outside on the backstretch and when it was time to go, he took off. (The Preakness) will be a completely different game. I told Kelly, he’ll be completely relaxed. We don’t need to put him on the lead. We can do whatever we want with him.”

Rubley added that Alwaysmining had worked behind horses and she felt confident of his tractability.

“Honestly I was glad to see that he settled and he was able to relax,” the trainer said. “It looked like it got a little tight, but Danny didn’t really think it did. Somebody had to test us sooner or later. I’m glad we got it out of the way here, and I’m confident that he handles it well.”

Alwaysmining notched his fifth stakes win and has earned $462,192 from a 13-8-0-1 record. Bred by Alva Pitts, Alwaysmining hails from the Anees mare What Will Be.