Panthers owner ready for rivalry to continue at Preakness

With his horse straddling the ideal line between composed and raring to go, he has repeatedly asserted his confidence this week.

Still, I have a few questions. Always Dreaming will break from post posit.

Classic Empire has recovered nicely from his distressing race at the Kentucky Derby - and so have his handlers.

Heck, 11 times the Preakness was run before the Kentucky Derby. Curiously, jockey John Velazquez has also never won the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, though he's run second two times.

2003 - Funny Cide runs away from the field on the turn for home and finishes with a near-record 9¾-length victory in the Preakness.

I hated Super Saver that day because I thought he was fortunate to get a sloppy track in the Derby and another fantastic rail ride from Calvin Borel. The legendary John Longden won the Preakness aboard Count Fleet in 1943 and then saddled Majestic Prince, the victor in 1969. Classic Empire will take off from the No. 5 post position, so the two rivals will have a chance to get a good look at each other as they prepare to race.

Renowned trainer Todd Pletcher is hoping to end his drought at the Preakness Stakes with race favorite and Kentucky Derby victor Almost Dreaming.

"With Super Saver, my concern was the two-week turnaround was a little quick for him, "Pletcher said".

"We have been avid supporters of Lookin at Lee since the Sentient Jet Juvenile past year and have been cheering him on ever since", said Andrew Collins, President and CEO of Sentient Jet. "He seems eager to go, and we're just trying to keep him on the ground one more day", said Pletcher. And while he is a speed-oriented race horse, that ability to track and sit just off the pace - you see those horses that tear out there and try to go wire to wire and "come and catch me if you can", they're always going to be vulnerable to those rabbit tactics. "If I was NBC, I'd have like a close-in camera on those two horses". Always Dreaming will be just his second Preakness starter in seven years.

Hence (Street Boss) quietly snuck back through the backstretch as the media got the latest on Always Dreaming during Pletcher's daily press conference adjacent the Stakes Barn at 8:10 a.m. He and jockey Jorge Carreno, who rides in his first ever Triple Crown race, will have to get a better start from the far outside post today to have a shot at pulling off the upset.

Classic Empire (Julien Leparoux, 3-1): He broke very poorly in the Kentucky Derby and lost the race right from the very beginning.

Conditions should be better on Saturday and Classic Empire will be starting just outside of Always Dreaming in the fifth starting gate for the mile and 3/16ths race.

Lookin At Lee (Corey Lanerie, 10-1): He surprised many rallying up the rail to finish a very game second to the eventual victor Always Dreaming in the Kentucky Derby. Cloud Computing, Conquest Mo Money, Multiplier, Senior Investment and Term of Art complete the Preakness field.

After the front-running style of Always Dreaming proved to be advantageous over the sloppy surface at Churchill Downs, it's no surprise to see him as favorite for the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes.

LP: I think that there needs to be a real respect/fear factor where Classic Empire is concerned. His energy level was immediately good and has remained so throughout.


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