Following a disappointing ninth place finish in the Travers Stakes, Always Dreaming will be undergoing a series of physicals to determine his condition. Trainer Todd Plecther didn’t appear optimistic about his immediate future, merely saying that they have to see what kind of shape the colt is in following a rough summer run. Always Dreaming will head to Winstar Farms for further evaluation.
“After he arrives, he’ll get a complete physical at Rood and Riddle,” Pletcher said. Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital is one of the top Thoroughbred health centers in the country. “We’ll make a determination on the next steps after that once we get the information back.”
When asked why Always Dreaming faded so badly in the Travers, Pletcher didn’t have much to say. “I can’t offer much excuse based on the trip he got,” Pletcher continued. “He was in the position that we thought he would be in and he seemed to be going comfortably. He came off the bridle on the far turn and that was it.” Always Dreaming was close to the lead for much of the lead, trailing West Coast before fading right at the top of the stretch for reasons that haven’t been determined.
The 2017 Kentucky Derby winner headed in to the 2017 Travers Stakes as one of three Triple Crown champions. This was the first time such an event had transpired since the 1982 Travers, and the hype was well justified. Always Dreaming and Belmont Stakes winner Tapwrit both boasted 6/1 odds by the time the gates cracked, with Preakness winner Cloud Computing coming in with 10/1 odds of his own. None of them ended up finishing in the money as West Coast stormed to victory, followed by Gunnevera and Irap. It was a sour finish, especially for Pletcher’s star pupil. He’s simply never been able to recapture the magic he displayed at Churchill Downs.
Pletcher didn’t seem to have the same concerns about Tapwrit, who was positioned well in the final moments and wasn’t able to find an extra gear as he finished fourth behind the top-three. “We got the trip we wanted with both horses. Always Dreaming just didn’t fire and I thought Tapwrit ran well. It just seemed like it was a hard track to make up a lot of ground down the stretch,” Pletcher recalled before mentioning more about Tapwrit. “When he came off the turn, I thought he was in the right position and finished steadily but couldn’t make up any real ground.”
Hopefully the news comes back well on Always Dreaming. Fans will be rooting for him much the same way we did when he won the Kentucky Derby. Since that victory, the colt has finished 8th at the Preakness, 3rd in the Jim Dandy and 9th in the Travers Stakes.