O-Brooklyn Boyz Stables, Teresa Viola Racing Stables et al. B-Santa Rosa Partners (KY). T-Todd A. Pletcher. Sales History: $350,000 Ylg ’15 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: GISW, 5-3-1-1, $648,900.
Last Start: 1st, GI Xpressbet Florida Derby, GP, Apr. 1
KY Derby Points: 100
Always Dreaming is riding the crest of the crop at a crucial time, although being a lightly raced Derby favorite is not without its perils. He gets high marks not only for what he’s accomplished (only Derby entrant to have won two nine-furlong races), but the manner in which he’s done it–his scintillating score in the Florida Derby was by far the most visually impressive of all the nine-furlong Kentucky Derby preps. Always Dreaming comes out of the gate running, responds well when cued to settle, slips into an intimidating stalk mode in seemingly effortless manner, and always appears in sync with jockey John Velazquez, extending fluidly and solidly when roused for the drive. He has a presence that belies his lack of seasoning (five starts overall; three tries to break maiden), but at this point on the Triple Crown trail, the true promise of a potential superstar hinges more on what he can produce advancing forward than what has been on his résumé since debuting last July 1. If you like him in the betting, be aware that his status as a “headline horse” is going to cost you a point or two in the mutuels, especially since his final five-furlong bullet (1/35) workout last Friday (:59.60) is getting wide play as a monster move, and trainer Pletcher used colorful phrasing to describe how the colt “demolished” his breakfast afterwards. He’s the horse to beat on Saturday, for certain. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking he’s unbeatable.