Always Dreaming Wins a Thrilling 143rd Kentucky Derby

The sun rises at Churchill Downs before the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby horse race Saturday

The sun rises at Churchill Downs before the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby horse race Saturday

Always Dreaming was followed across the finish line by a pair of long shots, Lookin At Lee (33-1) and Battle of Midway (40-1).

Always Dreaming ($4.70 to 1) ended up as the post-time favorite by the narrowest of margins and became the fifth consecutive betting favorite to win a race that once went 20 consecutive years without a winning favorite. If he can win in Baltimore, he'll give his Brooklyn born-and-bred owners the thrill of a lifetime, going for the Triple Crown in front of their home crowd in NY.

Wood Memorial victor Irish Cry, who was actually second in the wagering at $4.80-to-1, hung with the leaders early for trainer Graham Motion, then faded to 10th in the full field of 20 horses.

While veteran Derby watchers aren't pulling for any one frontrunner this year, right now the odds favor Always Dreaming and Irish War Cry.

"I'm definitely proud of Lee", Asmussen said. "It's very special", Pletcher said after the race.

Always Dreaming has won the 143rd Kentucky Derby, pulling away from Lookin at Lee in the slop.

Winning the Kentucky Derby is something they had both accomplished, but not together.

Always Dreaming is the victor of the 143rd Kentucky Derby.

Turns out the dark brown colt knew best.

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Horse players might have cooled on McCraken after he was pulled out of the Tampa Bay Derby two months ago, but the colt owns three wins at Churchill Downs where he had to come from behind on the home stretch.

"We've been doing that for about six years now, and it gets bigger and better every year", Starr said.

The 143rd Kentucky Derby was run on Saturday, and it was simulcast at the Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, where Downs officials say somewhere around 3,000 people come out to watch the race.

Blackwell placed some of his money on Irish War Cry, a horse with 5-to-1 odds, and some on Patch, an underdog who gained notoriety after losing his left eye, but was more of an outside shot with 13-to-1 odds.

"When Corey cut the corner, I thought we were the victor", Asmussen said.

Pletcher's penchant for saturating the Derby field with entrants - 45 in all - had yielded only a 2010 victory with Super Saver. The third-place finisher in the Florida Derby earns 20 points, and the lowest Kentucky Derby qualifier had 30. I got a good position with him early and then he relaxed. Always Dreaming was flawless in the post-parade and brilliant in the race.

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This Derby could not hold on to a favorite.

The $2 exacta paid $336.20, the $1 trifecta was worth more than $8,000, and a $1 superfecta bet, which included fourth-place Classic Empire, returned $75,974.50. "The most important thing to do is bring the best horse to the Derby, and that's what we were able to do". I felt like I really needed the second one ...

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