By Steve Sherack
BALTIMORE, Md – With the sky briefly lit up in shades of pink just as the sun began to rise, GI Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming (Bodemeister) put on a show once again during his 5:30 a.m. training session on a sultry morning at Pimlico.
Just as he’s done all week in Baltimore, the GI Preakness S. 4-5 morning-line favorite showcased tremendous energy throughout his 1 1/2-mile gallop, clearly ready for more beneath his acclaimed exercise rider Nick Bush. Saturday’s 6:48 p.m. post time for the second jewel of the Triple Crown can’t come soon enough.
“The tank seems full,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “We’re just trying to keep him on the ground one more day.”
The nine remaining Preakness entrants all visited the track throughout the morning as well, with GIII Stonestreet Lexington S. winner Senior Investment (Discreetly Mine) next up at 5:50 a.m. The handsome blaze-faced chestnut galloped down the stretch as a large group of fans enjoying ‘Sunrise at Old Hilltop’ made their way through the grandstand. A pair of youngsters watching by the fence even got a nice wave and a smile from his exercise rider on the way back.
Multiplier (The Factor), hero of the GIII Illinois Derby, got his first look at Pimlico Wednesday beneath trainer Brendan Walsh and briefly crossed paths with Senior Investment as that one jogged back along the outer rail.
Gunnevera (Dialed In) and Classic Empire (Pioneerof the Nile) were both out just before 6:30 a.m. The former was a bit hesitant to enter the track as a large group of photographers were lined up by the gap, but the popular chestnut was all business once it was go time.
Trainer Mark Casse, sporting a white Classic Empire Preakness baseball cap, met last year’s juvenile champ on the track and remained on the shank as the pair made their way back to the Stakes Barn.
Cloud Computing (Maclean’s Music) and Lookin at Lee (Lookin at Lucky) shared the spotlight at 7:15 a.m. Cloud Computing, a well-beaten third in the GII Wood Memorial S. at the Big A Apr. 8, bounded onto the track with good energy and really caught the eye during his gallop. Lookin at Lee’s braided mane flopped back and forth as the Derby runner-up was under a very snug hold coming off the far turn.
Hence (Street Boss) quietly snuck back through the backstretch as the media got the latest on Always Dreaming during Pletcher’s daily press conference adjacent the Stakes Barn at 8:10 a.m.
No fewer than three hours after Always Dreaming stepped foot onto the track, Term of Art (Tiznow) and Conquest Mo Money (Uncle Mo) were the last two Preakness runners to head out for exercise after the renovation break with the temperatures now climbing in the low 80s.
Term of Art, sporting a patented Doug O’Neill red shadow roll, was ridden by Johnny Garcia, who, of course, also guided the stable’s recent Derby winners I’ll Have Another and Nyquist through their morning preparations. Conquest Mo Money, second most recently in the GI Arkansas Derby, briefly stood by the rail after galloping two miles beneath jockey Jorge Carreno as training hours began to wind down with the crowd heading toward the annual Alibi Breakfast.