John Velazquez Says Always Dreaming Is Todd Pletcher's Best Kentucky Derby Horse

The sun rises at Churchill Downs before the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby horse race Saturday

"The victor was too good".

Jockeys walk through the paddock in a race before the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs on Saturday, in Louisville, Ky.

Long shots Lookin at Lee and Battle of Midway were next across the line in slow conditions caused by rains Friday and Saturday.

Always Dreaming paid $11.40 on a $2 bet to win. Battle of Midway, who was 40-1, paid $20.80 to show and completed a $1 trifecta of $8,297.20.

Classic Empire, the 4-1 morning-line favorite, hasn't generated much support yet. Trained by Mark Casse, the Arkansas Derby victor finished fourth, a length behind Battle of Midway. We wanted to make sure we got out well and got a position we'd like to have and be comfortable.

The Hall of Fame jockey has been Pletcher's primary rider for many years. "It's special to win one with Todd".

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It's trainer Todd Pletcher's second Derby win. Yet Pletcher's frustrations in the sport's most high-profile race were well-documented. In the long history of horse racing - the Derby is America's "oldest continuously held sporting event" - only 12 horses have been able to pull off the feat. Before Saturday, he was 1-for-45.

"The most important thing is to bring the best horse to the Derby and we did it this year", said Pletcher, who as acknowledged that a majority of his Derby starters were not suited to the rigors of 11⁄4 miles. "I felt like this week, people were defending it for me for some reason". "This is the one we wanted to win together".

Always Dreaming is owned by a partnership of Brooklyn Boys Stable, St. Elias Stable, and West Point Thoroughbreds (including former track announcer Tom Durkin). The problem was coming up with a plan to get the colt to peak at just the right time.

Classic Empire finished fourth, followed by Practical Joke, Tapwrit, Gunnevera, McCraken, Gormley and Irish War Cry.

Always Dreaming will now begin the trek toward trying to join the great horses that have won the Triple Crown.

American Pharoah's trainer, Bob Baffert, who did not have a horse in the race, said he would be watching from his "Grade I couch" in California, a day after he won the premier race for 3-year-old fillies, the Kentucky Oaks, with Abel Tasman.

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Always Dreaming is the favorite in early wagering on the Kentucky Derby.

Keep an eye out for Cinderella story, Patch, a one-eyed horse.

Velazquez and Always Dreaming fired out of the gate and sailed along the sodden track as if riding the tide.

Jose Ortiz guided Paulassilverlining over the seven furlongs in 1:23.68 over the sloppy track.

Always Dreaming took command of the 143 running of the Kentucky Derby heading into the final turn and then drew off to a convincing win of three lengths. "We think he can handle this distance".

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