Always Dreaming Well on Sunday

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1:01 pm EDT

Pletcher Says He Came Back 'Bright'

By Dick Downey

Todd Pletcher reported Sunday that Florida Derby winner Always Dreaming is doing well.son of Bodemeister, a commanding five-length winner in his stakes debut.

“He’s excellent. It seemed like he recuperated quickly after the race, cooled out good, looked good this morning, settled back here into Palm Beach Downs and all is well,” Pletcher said. “He seems to be in excellent form. I was really pleased with the way he came back to the winner’s circle. It just seemed like he recovered quickly from the race and cooled out quickly and was bright and alert and happy back in his stall. Initially he’s showing us all the signs you’re hoping for.”

Always Dreaming's time of 1:47.47 was the fastest Florida Derby since Alydar’s 1:47 in 1978.

“Honestly I can’t say it surprised us,” Pletcher said. “It was what we felt like he was capable of doing based on the way he had been training, but you’re always pleased to see him deliver the type of performance you’re hoping for. He certainly did that, and then some.”

Always Dreaming will remain at Palm Beach Downs for at least the next couple weeks before shipping to Churchill Downs..

In its first 65 runnings, the Florida Derby has produced 43 starters that have gone on to win 58 Triple Crown races, 23 of them being the Kentucky Derby, including last year’s winner Nyquist.

Of Pletcher’s previous Florida Derby winners, Materiality (2015) went on to run eighth in the Kentucky Derby, Constitution (2014) was retired following an injury while training for the Derby, and Scat Daddy (2007) finished 18th.

“I’ve got to kind of map out a schedule in terms of when we’ll ship to Churchill,” Pletcher said. “We’ll look to have a breeze or possibly two breezes at Churchill, but we’ll kind of play it by ear and see what the shipping arrangements look like and see what the weather’s doing in Kentucky and take all those into consideration.”