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Horse Racing, Kentucky Derby at The Downey Profile®

Tuesday: Always Dreaming Behaves Better


More Focused in Early Morning Appearance

By Dick Downey

The day is young, and Always Dreaming is back in his barn after a spin around the one-mile oval at Churchill Downs starting at about 5:45 a.m. ET.

After several consecutive episodes of the Florida Derby winner exhibiting rank behavior while galloping, for the second straight day he was equipped with draw reins and had exercise rider Nick Bush aboard. Draw reins are used to maintain more control over a horse and to help keep the horse's head low.

As usual, Always Dreaming entered the track by the gap closest to the mile chute. He soon went into a counter-clockwise gallop with his head held low, and he stayed that way most of his time out, much improved in comparison to two days ago and previously.

Kept to the center of the track, Always Dreaming threw his head once in upper stretch when passed on his inside by two workers going in company, and then on the first turn he momentarily displayed a bit of quirkiness but quickly regained his composure with Bush's help.

After galloping into the far turn again, he was met by a pony just as he was being pulled up and was led off the track.

These are the days that try trainers' souls, and Todd Pletcher is surely earning his pay as he deals with Always Dreaming's issues with the Kentucky Derby now only four days away.

Whether Pletcher will keep the draw reins in use during training every day between now and Saturday no one knows for sure, but the true test will come when Always Dreaming is sent to the track without them, and that will happen on Kentucky Derby day if not before.


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