Preakness Preview: Mike Hartnett says Classic Empire will strike back

When placing a bet with a live teller at a racetrack or at an off-track betting facility, you need to use the track name, race number, type and amount of the bet, and the program number (s) for the horse (s) you are playing.

Can Always Dreaming light up the horse-racing world and even draw in mainstream sports fans by winning the Preakness, thus allowing the opportunity for a second Triple Crown victor in the last three years? Shut up. His rally in the Arkansas Derby told you he's got the kind of goods few do, so without the slop and the terrible trip that Churchill Downs gave him, he's the one.

Lookin At Lee, second in the Derby by 2.75 lengths, also has the task of overturning his last-start result behind Always Dreaming.

Kentucky Derby victor Always Dreaming, ridden by exercise rider Nick Bush, walks past the starting gates after a workout at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Thursday, May 18, 2017.

The horse will run under the ownership flag of Judge Lanier Racing (named after Tom's grandfather). Winning the Derby in the mud against a so-so field where the contenders fired blank squibs while the longshots waited too long, and with a flawless trip, doesn't carry much sizzle forward. In Kentucky, he worked his way up the rail late, nearly unnoticed. The 4th place finisher in the Derby and 2-year-old champion has settled in at Pimlico and trainer Mark Casse likes how his horse has acclimated to the track. "He always does. He tries so hard". Wheeling a horse back in two weeks, as for the Preakness, goes against the grain in the Pletcher playbook. Only one of his nine opponents, Conquest Mo Money, has comparable early speed, and Always Dreaming isn't a one-dimensional front-runner anyway.

"He's proven he belongs", Blasi said. By bypassing a series of prep races in stakes and focusing on smaller building blocks, Pletcher gambled that he would have a colt who would produce when it mattered in the Florida Derby and thus would be set for the demands of what lay ahead.

Which brings us to the horse at the outside No. 10 post - Conquest Mo Money.

It looks like a cold exacta: Classic Empire first, Always Dreaming second.

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Previous year there were more than 180,000 guests for the Preakness events. He is drawn right outside of Always Dreaming and it will be interesting to see how that plays out. "He came out good, he's back here at Santa Anita and we're looking to run him maybe in the Affirmed (Stakes on June 24)". "My wife said, 'I've never seen you that excited, ' and I said, 'That's our guy'".

Sandy and her husband, Tom, are the owners of Conquest Mo Money, a 15-1 entry in the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes on Saturday. Brown won the Eclipse Award as top trainer past year. Casse said he's been impressed with how the fast-rising colt, who was sold for $8,500 last fall, has trained here.

"I think we got exactly what we hoped we would get when we got here, a good, quiet setting", Pletcher told the Pimlico notes team.

Hear from Pletcher and Casse in the video. Gunnevera Mike Smith 15-1 7. He's run three times total and the last two involved horses who were at the Derby and the finishes were the same, never sniffed the lead then ultimately faded.

The Belmont Stakes was run before the Preakness 11 times, but since 1931 the current Derby-Preakness-Belmont order has been in place.

Though there are moments of plain truth. I don't envision Always Dreaming conceding the early lead however I believe Conquest Mo Money has the best early speed of the field.

So call it a two-horse race with a possible interloper - and, as always, the real chance that nothing, after all this talk, will go as planned.


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