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Always Dreaming wins 143rd Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby has a new champion: Always Dreaming

The three-year-old thoroughbred covered the famed mile and a quarter at Churchill Downs in 2:03.59 to win by 2¾ lengths over Lookin At Lee (2nd) and Battle Of Midway (3rd).

It’s the second win for trainer Todd Pletcher, as well as jockey John Velazquez.

Under sunny skies but on a muddy track from an earlier rain, Always Dreaming went off as the co-favorite at 9/2 (along with Irish War Cry). Velazquez steered Always Dreaming to second around the first turn, then took the lead on the backstretch, and from there cruised to victory.

Irish War Cry made a move down the stretch, but faded to 10th, allowing long shots Lookin At Lee (31-1) to place and Battle of Midway (37-1) to show.

John Velazquez celebrates winning the 143rd Kentucky Derby aboard Always Dreaming. (Getty)

This year’s Derby was one of the most wide-open in recent memory. Famed trainer Bob Baffert, winner of four Derbies, had no horse entered into the race. And there was no consensus pre-race favorite, no American Pharaoh — the 2015 winner who captured the first Triple Crown in 37 years — to grab the betting public’s imagination.

But after dominating Saturday’s field at the Derby, Always Dreaming will head to the Preakness Stakes on May 20 as a clear favorite, seemingly with potential to become the second Triple Crown winner in three years.

As always, the Derby featured the usual eclectic band of celebrities, including David Ortiz and Tom Brady:

… PGA Tour golfers Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas:

.. expensive food:

… strange attire:

… a bit of mud:


… and, of course, the hats:


Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.