After days of intermittent rain, the sky cleared up for the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby and Always Dreaming won by nearly three lengths on a sloppy track.
It was a second derby win for the horse’s trainer and jockey, but their first together.
Winning Jockey John Velazquez won the Kentucky Derby in 2011, riding Animal Kingdom.
After the race, Velazquez said he will always look for his next derby win.
“Obviously you come back to the derby looking for another one,” Velazquez said. “You’re always hungry for it.”
Trainer Todd Pletcher won the derby in 2010 with Super Saver. He said he really wanted a second Derby win.
“The first one was extra special, I have a tremendous respect for the race, tremendous respect for how difficult it is to win, but I felt like we needed another one as a team to put it together,” Pletcher said.
Always Dreaming is owned by a partnership that includes Brooklyn Boyz Stables and Teresa Viola, whose husband, Vincent, owns the Florida Panthers.
Pletcher and the horse’s owners said they plan on running the colt in the Preakness Stakes later this month, the second jewel in horse racing’s ultimate challenge, the Triple Crown.
Always Dreaming held the lead for the final stretch of the mile and a quarter long race. He finished with a time of 2:03.59.2 and 3/4 lengths ahead of second-place finisher Looking at Lee. Battle of Midway took third place.
At post-time, Always Dreaming was favored to win with 9-2 odds, making it the fifth straight year that the favorite has won the Kentucky Derby. The colt also won the Florida Derby earlier this month.
According to Churchill Downs officials, 158,070 people attended Saturday’s Derby.
United Arab Emirates Derby winner Thunder Snow did not finish the race after bucking out of the starting gate. Race officials said the horse was able to jog back to the barn under his own power and is uninjured.
The prize for winning the Kentucky Derby was $1,635,800.