The 2017 Belmont Stakes will crack the gates on June 10th, but it will have to do so without this year’s Kentucky Derby winner. Always Dreaming will be sitting out the final leg of the Triple Crown after his connections discussed things with trainer Todd Pletcher. It’s a tough blow for race fans as well.
Always Dreaming is owned by a partnership of several groups, which includes West Point Thoroughbreds, MeB Racing, Teresa Viola Racing Stable and St. Elias Stable. Terry Finley of West Point Thoroughbreds spoke on behalf of the owners to confirm the news about Always Dreaming in the 2017 Belmont Stakes.
“Todd ended up conferring with the majority partners and I think they just want to take a deep breath with him,” said Finley. “There are some really exciting spots for him later in the year. Certainly the big one is the Travers. So that was the thinking. We take a pause here and regroup.”
The hype and excitement that surrounded Always Dreaming evaporated as quickly as it burst. Hist hand-ridden win at the Florida Derby followed by his dominant run in the Kentucky Derby seemed to position him perfectly for a Triple Crown bid that should have ended at the 2017 Belmont Stakes. But a disinterested competitor showed up at the Preakness and finished eighth. It could’ve been fatigue, or a slight illness. It just wasn’t his day.
And now the 2017 Belmont Stakes is staring down a difficult barrel, just as it did last year. Creator and Destin ended up putting on an incredible show down the stretch last year, but action and interest in the race was a whimper compared to the previous two legs of the Triple Crown in 2016. The general assumption is that the lack of a Triple Crown bidder basically chases off the mainstream, but a lot of it is that we don’t create a good narrative for the Belmont Stakes to begin with. It shouldn’t be left on this insane gauntlet that took 30 years for a horse to complete.
For now, we have at least one warrior willing to run in all the events of the Triple Crown. Classic Empire is good to go for the 2017 Belmont Stakes and will begin training soon. Who will join him? Cloud Computing perhaps? We shall see.