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John Velazquez Looks To Complete Personal Triple Crown At Preakness

May 16, 2017
Jockey John Velazquez's victory in the Kentucky Derby May 6 was his fourth Triple Crown race triumph, but there's still one Triple Crown win that has eluded him.

Velazquez, who also won the Kentucky Derby in 2011 as well as the Belmond Stakes in 2007 and 2012, has yet to add a win in the Preakness to his Triple Crown resume. He will have an opportunity to do so May 20, when he comes to Baltimore as the current rock star of the horse-racing world, along with his horse, Always Dreaming. 

"It's missing … I've been chasing it for a little while. Looking back, I haven't run the Preakness a lot," Velazquez told Glenn Clark Radio May 8. "It's a race that I do [think about] a lot; I'm not getting any younger."

Velazquez finished second in the Preakness twice (2011, 2013), while Always Dreaming trainer Todd Pletcher has never had a horse finish better than third in eight runs in Baltimore. 

Velazquez has run the Preakness fewer times than he has the Kentucky Derby during his career, but he still feels confident in his chances at Pimlico Race Course.

"We have a very good horse. We probably have the best horse right now, [so] hopefully he can continue on that," Velazquez said. "The first time I [met] him I got on him, and I was pretty impressed … he seems to be [progressing] from everything we've asked of him."

As far as what the field of entrants will look like (probably nearly half that of the Kentucky Derby), Velazquez is unsure of what to expect. "You don't know until the day of entry really," Velazquez said. 

He also acknowledges that on the day of the race, even if everything he can control goes well, many other factors can change the outcome.

"If [Always Dreaming] comes back well and he has all that energy and strength he showed in the Kentucky Derby, I think we can do it," Velazquez said. "It's like everything, you have to be healthy, you have to be strong, and then the day of the race you have to get a little bit of luck as well."

At Churchill Downs, Velazquez said he was at ease when Always Dreaming got off to a strong start, and the same will need to happen at Pimlico.

"Once we broke well and got a good position going to the wire, I was comfortable [with] where he was and he was handling pretty well," Velazquez said. "If the horse breaks well, gets a position that's comfortable, and then we'll go from there, so everything has to fall into place. So even if the horse is doing really well and something happens during the race or in the gate, it changes the outcome of the race right there. So it's a little bit of everything."

You can listen to the full interview on Glenn Clark Radio here: