MacLennan Likes Always Dreaming in the Preakness

WINNIPEG, MB. – Assiniboia Downs had a tremendous Opening Day. The parking lot was jammed, more than 7,000 people showed up to watch and a record amount was wagered.

The timing could not be better for the first full weekend of live racing this season.

There will be live racing on Friday night and Saturday night at 7:30 and holiday Monday afternoon at 1:30. On Friday night, there will be three 10-horse fields as well as last year’s two-year-old champion, Paint My Ride, will begin his 2017 three-year-old championship season with the Northern Spike Stakes.

Bred by Cam Ziprick in Russell, Man. and owned by Barry Arnason and trainer Don Schnell, the three-year-old gelding has been burning up the track in recent workouts (fastest out of 11 horses on May 4 and quickest of 16 last Thursday), but he faces five horses who have raced this year including three Kentucky-breds. That’s probably why oddsmaker Dustin Davis has made Henry Witt, Jr.’s Kentucky-bred Heavy Roller the even-money favourite. Witt had claimed him for $30,000 at Keeneland and ran him for $50,000 at Churchill Downs. He finished second and third respectively and according to handicapping expert Ivan Bigg, “Sports an 85 Equibase speed figure compared to Paint My Ride’s 72 last year.”

It should be a great race.

As will Saturday’s highlight, the Preakness Stakes, live from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. As always, you can wager on the race at Assiniboia Downs.

Rob MacLennan,’s official handicapper and the Paddock Host at Assiniboia Downs, likes Kentucky Derby champion Always Dreaming in this second jewel of the Triple Crown.

“This year’s edition of the Preakness is being hyped by many as a two-horse race between the Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and the 2016 champion juvenile Classic Empire,” said MacLennan.

“I see this race as Always Dreaming’s race to lose. He seems to have gone forward off his Derby win, he figures to get a dream trip and he ran a tremendous race in Louisville. I expect him to be forwardly placed and the winner at a short price.

“I am against Classic Empire, the rough trip combined with the short turn around and a third start in a short period makes me think Classic Empire could be due to fire a dud. I don’t see him getting a favorable early pace and I think that makes him a play against for me.

“The horses I like as prices underneath are No. 10 Conquest Mo Money who is the logical other speed horse in the race and who was a game and gritty second in the Arkansas Derby. He trained up to this race and figures to sit close under Jorge Carreno. I think Gunnevera will run much better than he did in the Derby as he had a rough trip and a smaller field should create less chaos for him. Cloud Computing was a well beaten third in the Wood Memorial against a bias that day and he has great connections that could set him up to improve. A logical contender that merits respect, especially in the Triactor and Superfecta wagers.”

Here are the post positions for Saturday’s 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes:

  1. Multiplier 40/1
  2. Cloud Computing 14/1
  3. Hence 20/1
  4. Always Dreaming 4/5
  5. Classic Empire 3/1
  6. Gunnevera 16/1
  7. Term of Art 33/1
  8. Senior Investment 33/1
  9. Lookin At Lee 10/1
  10. Conquest Mo Money 18/1

“If I was playing a pair of wagers tomorrow I would play a pair of triactors 4/10/2,3,6 and then 4/2,3,6/10,” said MacLennan. “Only six dollars ($3 each) and a shot to hit for an okay payday if Classic Empire does not run back to form.”

I took Always Dreaming in the Derby and my $20 to win wager paid $111.50. I’ll put $20 on Always Dreaming again in the Preakness.

The big race goes to post at about 5:45 CDT. If you’re watching at home, it’s on NBC TV.

– Scott Taylor, MyToba Sports

Photo by Assiniboia Downs

Editor of the popular Game On Hockey Magazine and The Point After Football Magazine, editor of Canadian Meat Business Magazine, sports editor of Grassroots News, TV play-by-play voice of the Winnipeg Goldeyes and author of the bestselling book: The Winnipeg Jets: A Celebration of Professional Hockey in Winnipeg. He likes virgin pina coladas, long walks on the beach, puppies and thoroughbred race horses that run according to form.
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1 Comment

  • Bob Gates says:

    I’m no handicapper, but Classic Empire gets my money. He easily had the worst trip in the Derby and look for him to atone for his rather luckluster performance in the Run for the Roses!