Pletcher added the colt had been aggressive and hard to handle during training prior to the Kentucky Derby, so he chose to send him to Baltimore three days after the Derby to relax while being prepped for the Preakness.
The 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes will take place on Saturday, May 20, 2017.
Classic Empire likely will be the second choice behind Always Dreaming, owing to his overall form - including being the 2-year-old male champion of last year - combined with a brutal trip in the Derby.
"After the Oaklawn win, I have been very high on him", said McPeek, who trained 2002 Belmont Stakes victor Sarava and 1995 Kentucky Derby runner-up Tejano Run.
Classic Empire, rated 3-1 in the early line, also seems primed for the race after jogging a mile and galloping a mile in his Thursday workout.
In addition to Classic Empire (Julien Leparoux to ride), Conquest Mo Money (Jorge Carreno) and Lookin At Lee (Corey Lanerie), the field is also expected to include Senior Investment, a February 18 first-level allowance/optional claiming victor at Oaklawn, and Hence, whose January 16 maiden victory was Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen's 500th career victor in Hot Springs. The start's going to be important.
Additionally, this is a shorter race at 1 3/16-miles, as opposed to the 1 1/4-miles in the Derby.
He will break from post No. 4.More news: Ceremony honors fallen officers
Sal Sinatra, president and general manager of the Maryland Jockey Club, attended the Preakness post-position draw Wednesday.
Should Always Dreaming be successful, the final leg of the Triple Crown will come in the Belmont Stakes on June 10.
Despite a disappointing run by Gunnevera, the Sanos were dazzled by their Kentucky Derby experience.
Classic Empire overcame a bumping episode early in the Derby to finish fourth, nearly nine lengths behind Florida Derby victor Always Dreaming.
Classic Empire, who won the Arkansas Derby, took more shots in the Kentucky Derby than Rocky Balboa in his fight with Apollo Creed in the Rocky movie. Casse insists the Preakness isnt about revenge, although he likened his horse to Rocky Balboa.
What are Always Dreaming's chances? So we'll be looking to get the whole thing, not just finishing.
Casse likes the neighboring posts. Although, I'm fairly confident connections wouldn't race him if he's not at 100 percent, but it may be something to watch out for. Where Always Dreaming, not only is he blessed with the God-given ability, he creates his own luck, and there's something to be said for that.
It has become well-documented that Oaklawn Park is a major player in the world of horse racing, especially as the home of prep races for the Triple Crown. "I hope it doesn't take me that long to get back", said Finley.More news: New 'pinned chats' feature rolls on WhatsApp for Android
Classic Empire was slammed by a chain reaction of bumping horses to his outside while leaving the starting gate in the Derby, causing jockey Julien Leparoux to later wonder how he stayed aboard.
Classic Empire was an early favorite at the Derby, coming in with five wins in seven career races.
Lookin At Lee (+1000), the Derby runner-up, starts from Post 9. He will break from the No. 2 hole.
Hence, the 11th-place finisher in the Derby, is listed at 20-1 on the morning line.
The pair of Steve-Asmussen-trained colts had flown from Louisville, Kentucky, along with Doug O'Neill-trained Term of Art, who had boarded a plan in Southern California earlier in the day, and Kenny McPeek-trained Senior Investment, who were unloaded from the second van minutes later.
But the odds are against Always Dreaming.
The storied Kentucky stable also has Term of Art, trained by 2012 Preakness victor Doug O'Neill.
"We just need to have a nice facility", he said.More news: Graham believes Russian Federation probe 'considered a criminal investigation'
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