When is post time for Preakness Stakes

Exercise rider Victor O'Farrel gallops Preakness Stakes entrant Gunnevera at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Friday, May 19, 2017. Term of Art Jose Ortiz 30-1 8.

The owner of Pimlico Race Course said earlier this week that the 147-year-old track likely would have to be rebuilt - at a cost of $300 million to $500 million - to keep the race there rather than move it to a track in Laurel, Md. It was the same routine Always Dreaming followed before his career-defining win at Churchill Downs on May 6.

He rallied wide on the second turn and in the stretch - the inside was the much faster part of the sloppy track that day at Churchill Downs - and finished fourth.

Whether he does it again in the 1 3/16-mile Preakness at Pimlico on Saturday depends on a good trip, the tactics by his nine rivals and a little luck.

Pletcher, for owners MeB Racing, Brooklyn Boyz Stables, Teresa Viola, St. Elias Stable, Siena Farm, and West Point Thoroughbreds, has been pleased with Always Dreaming's morning exercise since the Kentucky Derby.

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. "Maybe he's that good that he won't encounter trouble".

"Sometimes you don't know until you are in the heart of the battle whether he has that extra in reserve", Pletcher said. Two years ago, American Pharoah became the first horse to sweep the Derby, Preakness and Belmont in 37 years. Trainer Todd Pletcher, who conditioned 2010 Kentucky Derby victor Super Saver, shipped Always Dreaming to Pimlico a week earlier than he had done with Super Saver in order to take advantage of the quiet surroundings before the majority of the Preakness contenders would arrive.

In the Preakness, Always Dreaming will break from the No. 4 post, a spot that has produced 13 winners but none since Curlin in 2007. Besides having the best name, he's fresh, has three wins under his belt, and ran wire-to-almost-wire in front at the Arkansas Derby before Classic Empire beat him by a half-stride.

Classic Empire's trainer, Mark Casse, is expecting an interesting race. I don't see him being able to capitalize on this venture like he did in the Derby.

Two weeks ago the first leg of the Triple Crown was installed with Always Dreaming taking the trophy and blanket of roses. "If I were them, I would be happy with that post", Pletcher said. "The way he's moving, the way he's acting, the way he's getting over the track, we feel really blessed that he's coming into the race this way", Pletcher said.

Though we missed last year's Preakness with Nyquist, we won six of the eight prior runnings of the Preakness. Velazquez is 0 for 7, with his best finish being second in 2011 aboard Kentucky Derby victor Animal Kingdom.

Cloud Computing leads the middle of the pack at +1400, ahead of Gunnevera at +1600, Conquest Mo Money at +1800 and Hence at +2000. If the pace is too fast, it gives closers a chance to make a winning run at the end.

"We want people to watch".

There's a posse of contenders that would love to extend that history.

Which brings us to the horse at the outside No. 10 post - Conquest Mo Money. He is drawn well in the four post, giving jockey John Velazquez the option of using his tactical speed to set up wherever Velazquez wants. Another is Cloud Computing, who figures to be sitting just off the leaders.

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

  • Julie Sanders