Always Dreaming may, like most of the horses that contested the Kentucky Derby, have had a very hard race on very sloppy dirt but the main point is that his running style is perfect for the Preakness. His aggressiveness means that he likes to stalk, or just flat out get in front. He’s got speed and he’s shown us that he can run tactically. At mile-and-three-sixteenths, a US football field shorter than the Derby’s mile-and-a-quarter, the Preakness requires that everybody needs to get in position – meaning, a position that they like – a little bit earlier. Always Dreaming, as he has already shown, is good at that.
He was wiped out at the start of the Derby, and it knocked him off his game in that race. It had to do with the draw. He was in 14, and McCracken was breaking from the 15 – which is in the auxiliary gate. There was that little bit of extra space we talked about between those two positions. So, what happened was, because of the gap, McCracken had more room to run in on him, and Classic Empire took a harder blow than he would have had they been right next to each other in the same gate. It nearly knocked him down. It cost him a lot of position that he couldn’t make up in the stretch.
Lookin’ at Lee is a solid, tough, hard-knocking horse; he just doesn’t win a lot. He got a great tactical ride in the Derby from his jockey, at the top of the stretch he was in seventh, four-and-a-half lengths back. Can he do it again, would be my question, since this race is not going to be the same? Lookin at Lee has not won since last August 6th, at Ellis Park so shouldn’t be good enough.
The thing to remember is when the Preakness is occurs, meaning, a very, very short time after the Derby. The Derby’s enormous, there’s enormous pressure on the horses, who are, we don’t need to remind everybody, very young. But more than that, the Derby takes a lot out of everybody as they run it. Coming so quick on its heels, the Preakness is not a break. Yes, it’s a shorter race by a hundred and ten yards, and that makes a tactical difference. But the Preakness is both shorter, and still a long race. For some of them in this field, the question will be whether they can even make the mile-and-three-sixteenths. Always Dreaming was so superior in the Derby that he can emphatically answer that question.
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