Fast track to victory? Always Dreaming trainer, jockey seek Preakness breakthrough

Always Dreaming ran away in a nightmare Kentucky Derby, but a different scenario may be in store in Baltimore.

His nine opponents – including four returnees from the Derby – are ready for the colt’s front-running tactics. In Saturday’s 142nd Preakness, they’re getting their rematch in hopes of cutting Always Dreaming’s Triple Crown dream short.

In particular, Classic Empire’s connections can’t wait. In the Derby, the 2016 juvenile champion was roughed up early at the break and bumped again during an eventful stretch run, but still finished fourth. Adding insult, he got hit in the right eye – likely by a mud clod – and couldn’t open it after the race.

“We’re running him because we think he’s the best horse,” said trainer Mark Casse, noting the eye injury is now healed. “And we sure didn’t change our mind given the results of the Derby. … He’s a tough son-of-a-gun. We still feel he’s the best horse and we want to prove it.”

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