Always Dreaming pulls away to win Kentucky Derby
Todd Pletcher and John Velasquez had been dreaming of winning the Kentucky Derby together.
The trainer and jockey finally did it on Saturday, thanks to Always Dreaming pulling away from the field at the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville.
Velasquez held Always Dreaming in the middle of the field until he made his move on the final furlong to finish well ahead of Lookin at Lee and the chasing pack.
"It means a lot," Velasquez told NBC Sports when asked about winning for the first time with his long-time trainer.
Velasquez won the Derby for the second time and Pletcher also got his second victory as a trainer, but Saturday was their first as a jockey-trainer duo.
Hall of Famer Velazquez won the 2011 Derby aboard Animal Kingdom while Pletcher was a Derby-winning trainer with Super Saver in 2010.
"We've had so much success in the past, but had never won it together," Velasquez said. "We had a great horse and the way he ran today, it was very impressive."
Lookin At Lee was nearly three lengths back for second as Always Dreaming pulled away on the muddy Churchill Downs track, while Battle of Midway was third.
Fan favourite Patch finished 14th.
Velasquez said he wanted to get Always Dreaming comfortable before the final turn and then the three-year-old "ran beautifully on the backstretch."
Thunder Snow, who had 20-1 odds, barely got out of the gate before having to pull up.