Always Dreaming heavily favored in early Preakness wagering

Always Dreaming heavily favored in early Preakness wagering

He's ridden two previous Preakness starters for Pletcher: Circular Quay (fifth in 2007) and Stradivari (fourth last year).

In other words, railbirds and handicappers, throw out the Kentucky Derby and start with a fresh look at the 10-horse Preakness field.

The top two colts - Kentucky Derby victor Always Dreaming and hard-luck, fourth-place finisher Classic Empire - look clearly superior to the ho-hum horses that make up the rest of the field. Julien Leparoux keeps the mount on Classic Empire, last year's male juvenile champion and early-season Derby favorite before set back by an eventful training schedule in Florida.

"I think he is continuing to improve, actually", he said. "But I have a renewed love for my son right now".

Most Americans only get fired up about horse racing three times a year: the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday of May, the Preakness Stakes on the third Saturday of May, and the Belmont Stakes three weeks after the Preakness. He has to give chase and be within striking distance throughout the race.

The pace of the race is going to be dictated by the #10, Conquest Mo Money, and the lightly raced Multiplier, victor of the Illinois Derby, who will break from the rail.

"He's generally a very good horse away from the gate", trainer Todd Pletcher told reporters at the draw.

Welcome to ESPN Chalk's betting preview for the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes, where we take a look at every horse in the field, in order of post position, and analyze where the value lies.

Classic Empire overcame a bumping episode early in the Derby to finish fourth, nearly nine lengths behind Florida Derby victor Always Dreaming.

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"We're running him because we think he's the best horse", said trainer Mark Casse, noting the eye injury is now healed.

"The champ's been knocked down and he's going to come back and try to take back the crown", Casse said. Always Dreaming. 3. Cloud Computing. He's the champ and we're just going to go after him.

Casse likes the neighboring posts.

"It's like a dream for us to come this far, this fast, to be a trainer", Hernandez said. I've always said that this race, the Derby, the Belmont are always won by guys with experience.

Always Dreaming and Classic Empire are the only two horses with single-digit odds in the field.

Charging hard down the stretch, Lookin At Lee barely missed winning the Kentucky Derby as a 33-1 long shot. Lookin At Lee is the third favorite to win the Preakness at +1000. He will break from the No. 2 hole.

Rounding out the 10-horse race is Looking At Lee (11/1), Cloud Computing (12/1), Gunnevera (16/1), Conquest Mo Money (18/1), Hence (20/1), Multiplier (25/1), Term of Art (40/1), Senior Investment (40/1). Many attribute his fourth-place showing in the Derby to being jostled at the start from the No. 15 post position. It was quiet around Pimlico last week, when Always Dreaming practiced standing in the starting gate and visiting the paddock area where he will be saddled indoors on Saturday.

The 2016 Juvenile Eclipse Award victor had a troubled road to the Kentucky Derby and had a trip that mirrored his early-year adversity in the "Run for the Roses".

Besides the top two favorites, there are other quality colts in the $1.5 million, 1 3/6-mile race, like Lookin At Lee, a 33-1 Derby longshot who found his footing late and finished second, and Gunnevera, victor of the Grade II the Fountain of Youth in March who finished seventh at Churchill Downs two weeks ago.

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