Kentucky Derby Winner Almost Dreaming Departs Churchill Downs, Bound For Preakness

Always Dreaming
Always Dreaming wins the Kentucky Derby. Photo credit: Churchill Downs

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Always Dreaming, hero of last Saturday’s 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I), departed Churchill Downs at 6:40 a.m. Tuesday morning for the short ride to Louisville International Airport and a flight that would take him to Baltimore and Pimlico Race Course for the May 20 Preakness (GI).

Also on the same flight to Baltimore was Royal Mo, an also-eligible for the Derby who did not draw into the field of 20.

Three other Derby runners that are considered probable for the Preakness walked Tuesday morning: Lookin At Lee (second), Classic Empire (fourth) and Hence (11th).

Gunnevera, who finished seventh, returned to the track to jog twice around alongside a pony. Regular exercise rider Victor O’Farrel was aboard. Owned by Peacock Racing Stables, Gunnevera was added to the Preakness probable list Monday afternoon and will have Mike Smith aboard in Baltimore.

“The main factor in deciding to run is that he is sound and doing good and we think we have a good chance in the Preakness,” said Allessando Sano, son of trainer Antonio Sano, who returned to Miami on Monday. “He doesn’t seem like he ran a mile and a quarter. We are going to take it one race at a time and right now the Preakness is the main goal.”

The late-running colt is scheduled to van to Baltimore early Saturday morning.

Also scheduled to leave Churchill Downs later Tuesday for a return to California were Derby runners Battle of Midway (third), Gormley (ninth), Sonneteer (16th) and Irap (18th).

Godolphin’s Thunder Snow (Ire), who did not finish the race after being rank and bucking soon after the start, returned to the track for a second consecutive day and jogged a mile alongside a pony and then cantered a mile under Daragh O’Donohoe. Thunder Snow was scheduled to leave Churchill Downs on Tuesday afternoon for Huntsville, Alabama, where he would catch a flight to England.

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

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