Always Dreaming looks very much for real as Preakness awaits

(AP Photo/Garry Jones). Hot walker Patricia Campos, left, holds Kentucky Derby champion Always Dreaming as he gets a quick bath following a morning walk at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Saturday, May 20, 2017.

Streaming: At NBCSports.com or the NBC Sports app. But Bernardini's Preakness achievement comes with an asterisk because Kentucky Derby victor Barbaro broke down in the Preakness after coming out of the gate.

Always Dreaming will attempt to be the fourth Kentucky Derby victor in the last six years to finish first in the Preakness.

The focus grew on Classic Empire, which finished fourth at the Kentucky Derby, as the colt raced past Always Dreaming in the final turn and took a significant lead.

Coming out of the ninth post position, Derby runner Lookin at Lee owns the third best odds at 10-1.

"I've seen a lot of great horses that have not been able to overcome what he overcame, even to finish fourth", said trainer Mark Casse, whose Arkansas Derby victor is rated second in the morning line at 3-1. The field will be smaller, the weather warmer and the track drier. He is the hands-down favorite to win at Pimlico Race Course this evening after winning the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago.

Cloud Computing's win on Saturday put a sweep of the Triple Crown out of reach for any horse. Seventh-place Gunnevera and 11th-place Hence will also be back. Don't jump to conclusions and assume Always Dreaming is the next American Pharoah.

Always Dreaming had a super clean trip in Louisville and was the only horse in the field to come back with practically no mud on his coat (that does not include Thunder Snow who wasn't on the track long enough to get dirty).

Trainer Todd Pletcher wanted to give the Preakness favorite a relaxed day after he galloped with his customary aggression Thursday morning.

The 142nd Preakness Stakes is set.

New challengers: Conquest Mo Money, beaten by half a length by Classic Empire in the Arkansas Derby, tops the field of newcomers.

Many devoted horse-racing fans won't be so concerned over making some coin, but whether or not Always Dreaming will capture the Preakness, thus continuing his quest to becoming the 13th Triple Crown victor ever.

Jockey Javier Castellano rode Cloud Computing to the victory.

Classic Empire, who was fourth in the Kentucky Derby, is giving the favorite a run for his money as the 2-1 second choice.

Yoshida added some global flair to the Preakness day undercard with a four-length victory in the $100,000 James W. Murphy Stakes for 3-year-olds on the turf.

The only Preakness entrant taken to the track was Term of Art, Calumet Farm's grade 3 victor. Smith won the 1993 Preakness aboard Prairie Bayou. The last was Rachel Alexandra in 2009, the first filly to win in 85 years.

"It was always our dream to get a horse in a big race, and we're always dreaming in life, not just in horse racing", he said. Its location is poor, and the facility is far outshone by suburban Laurel.

Wagering on all of Saturday's Pimlico races will be available on Friday. Ownership says that to keep the Preakness at the track it will need hundreds of millions of dollars in improvements.

  • Arturo Norris