Always Dreaming, an impressive winner of the Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) April 1 at Gulfstream Park, breezed five furlongs Friday morning at Palm Beach Downs in 1:01.56, a move that pleased trainer Todd Pletcher.
“I thought it was excellent,” said Pletcher, who watched Always Dreaming work alone with jockey John Velazquez aboard. “We were looking for a nice, steady, solid stamina-building breeze. He was very relaxed, very happy, moving well, and galloped out great. I was very happy. He's been training great, eating well, energy level has been good. We're really excited about how he's doing.
“We have a flight to Churchill on Tuesday and an important work over the track there. Hopefully, he takes to that surface the way he has to every other surface he's been on and he stays healthy.”
Always Dreaming is just one of several classic contenders in Pletcher's barn. Patch, who finished second in the Louisiana Derby (G2) April 1 in just his third career start, worked Friday morning at Palm Beach in 1:01.30.
“He's not as impressive a work horse as Always Dreaming,” Pletcher said. “He's more of a workmanlike breeze horse. I thought it was a good, steady five-eighths, typical of what we saw from him all winter and spring.
“I was very pleased for him to go to Fair Grounds and finish a good quality second, closing ground at the end and galloping out in front. I don't think with his pedigree – being by a Belmont (G1) winner (Union Rags) and out of an A.P. Indy mare (Windyindy) – that distance should be an issue. I'm a little concerned about his lack of experience, lack of seasoning, but so far he's handled everything really, really well.”
Pletcher said Wood Memorial (G2) runner-up Battalion Runner is expected to ship to Churchill Downs Sunday. Pletcher said the son of Unbridled's Song has been doing well and believes “there's a couple reasons to think he will improve.”
“(The Wood) was his first race in 64 days and first at 1 1/8 miles, and I hope that brings him forward a bit,” he said.
Pletcher said he's “drawing a line” through Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner Tapwrit's fifth-place finish in the Blue Grass (G2) April 8. “He got hung out pretty wide on the turn and ran kind of a flat race, but he seemed to come out well. Hopefully, he trains accordingly and comes back to his Tampa form,” he said.
Pletcher said he's “on the fence” on what direction he will take with Rebel Stakes (G2) winner Malagacy, who finished fifth April 15 in the Arkansas Derby (G1).
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