Always Dreaming splashed through the slop to win the Kentucky Derby by 2¾ lengths Saturday, giving trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez their second victories in the race but their first together.
Pletcher and Velazquez have teamed up often over the years and are the sport’s leading money winners. On their own, they were a combined 2 for 63 coming into America’s greatest horse race. Pletcher won in 2010 with Super Saver; Velazquez won the following year with Animal Kingdom.
Together, they were unbeatable on a cool and rainy day at Churchill Downs.
Sent off at 9-2 odds, Always Dreaming made it the fifth straight year that a Derby favorite has won, the longest such stretch since the 1970s.
Always Dreaming was followed across the finish line by a pair of long shots: 33-1 Lookin At Lee and 40-1 Battle of Midway.
Always Dreaming ran 1¼ miles in 2:03.59 and paid $11.40, $7.20 and $5.80.
Lookin At Lee returned $26.60 and $18.20, while Battle of Midway was another five lengths back in third and paid $20.80 to show.
Classic Empire finished fourth, followed by Practical Joke, Tapwrit, Gunnevera, McCraken, Gormley and Irish War Cry. Hence was 11th, followed by Untrapped, Girvin, Patch, J Boys Echo, Sonneteer, Fast and Accurate, Irap, and State of Honor.
Pletcher also trains Tapwrit and Patch.
Thunder Snow, the Dubai-based entry, didn’t finish. He broke poorly out of the starting gate and began bucking. He was caught by the outrider and he walked back to the barn on his own.