It was his first official work since he was found to have stomach ulcers after the Aug. 26 Travers Stakes, a discovery that cut short his 3-year-old campaign. With regular exercise rider Nick Bush in the irons for trainer Todd Pletcher at Palm Beach Downs, Always Dreaming went an easy three furlongs in :37.13.
“It was a nice work, what I would call a controlled work,” said co-owner Anthony Bonomo of Brooklyn Boyz Stable. “He’s been back with Todd for a while, and Todd knows when they’re ready. I think the work was what he expected and what he wanted. The horse was happy as heck, which is always nice to see. I think he was happy to say, ‘OK, I can run for once today.’ I think he knew today was the day, and he did it very nice and very easy.
An earner of $2,344,700 to date, Always Dreaming captured the 2017 Florida Derby by five lengths in his stakes debut, the fastest running of the race since Alydar in 1978. That performance made the dark bay colt the favorite for the Kentucky Derby, which he won by 2 3/4 lengths—the largest margin of victory in the race’s past six years.
Despite an eighth in the Preakness Stakes, a third in the Jim Dandy Stakes, and a ninth in the Travers, Always Dreaming’s connections have maintained faith in the horse. Some others also think highly of the colt as WinStar Farm, SF Bloodstock, and China Horse Club joined the ownership group of MeB Racing, Brooklyn Boyz, Teresa Viola, St Elias, Siena Farm, and West Point Thoroughbreds for his 4-year-old campaign and future stallion career.
Always Dreaming recovered from the ulcers at WinStar Farm near Versailles, Ky., where he will stand when his racing career is complete. He returned to light training at WinStar Farm before he went to Florida in December to Pletcher’s Florida string.
Bred in Kentucky by Mike Ryan and Gerry Dilger’s Santa Rosa Partners, Always Dreaming is out of the In Excess mare Above Perfection, and is a half-brother to Hot Dixie Chick.
The colt’s connections have not yet announced a potential target spot for their multiple grade 1 winner in 2018.