Pletcher colt takes Florida Derby

Pletcher colt takes Florida Derby

(Gulfstream Park Release)
– Always Dreaming coasted to a five-length victory in Saturday's $1 million Xpressbet Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park, registering the fastest clocking since Alydar's winning time in 1978.

Owned by Brooklyn Boyz Stable, MeB Racing Stable, Teresa Viola Racing Stables and St. Elias Stables, Always Dreaming was timed for the 1 1/8m miles in 1:47.47, the fastest clocking since Alydar won the 1978 Florida Derby in 1:47.

In addition to earning the $600,000 winner's share of the purse, the 3-year-old son of Bodemeister earned 100 qualifying points to earn a berth in the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs May 6. The Pletcher-trained Tapwrit, Malagacy and Patch have already earned enough points to participate in the first leg of the Triple Crown, and the 14-time Gulfstream Championship meet titlist has a few other prominent colts scheduled to run in upcoming preps for the Run for the Roses.

"The horse has been training exceptionally well and we were confident he was going to run as well as he's capable of, and thank fully he did. I have to be honest with you, he was training so well that I would have been disappointed had he not run well, but that was a very impressive performance," Pletcher said. Certainly, that's why we were here today to hopefully get the points to go on."

Always Dreaming gave both Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez their respective fourth victories in Gulfstream Park's signature race that highlighted Saturday's 14-race program that included nine stakes worth $2.45 million in purses. The historic 1 1/8-mile event has produced the winners of 58 Triple Crown races, including 23 Kentucky Derby champions. Nyquist emerged undefeated from last year's Florida Derby with a 1 ¼-length victory and went on to win the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs five weeks later.