The chef known for "Iron Chef America", regular TV appearances and several restaurants is a longtime owner and breeder who has had success in the Breeders' Cup world championships.
Jockey John Velazquez took Always Dreaming forward early, grabbing the lead going into the first turn before settling behind State of Honor as they entered the backstretch.
Starting at 2:30 p.m. ET, NBC will run Derby coverage from Louisville, leading up to the race's start, with a post time scheduled for 6:34 p.m. He shot to Kentucky Derby prominence with a dominating, 5-lengths victory in the Florida Derby but had not raced since that event April 1. It came on the third try for the Ireland-bred horse. "As soon as he got on the backside he was going real comfortable". When we hit the quarter pole, I asked him and he responded. "He did it himself from there".
"This is the best horse Todd and I have ever come to the Kentucky Derby with", Velazquez said. "I was a little anxious down the backside".
As he had back then, he told Velazquez he would meet him in the winner's circle.
Lookin at Lee, a 33-1 longshot, was second, 2 3/4 lengths back, in the first leg of USA thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown series for three-year-olds. The exacta paid $336.20. Roca Rojo paid $4.60 to win.
While other horses who pressed the pace faded badly in the stretch, Always Dreaming finished with authority and heads to the Preakness in two weeks looking like a strong favorite to take that race as well.
Bonomo and Viola were just kids from Brooklyn who liked to sneak into Aqueduct racetrack with $6 in their pocket, begging an adult to place a bet for them.
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Bonomo's son, Anthony Jr., broke the budget buying Always Dreaming for $350,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
Novitski said that she would be putting her winnings toward an upcoming vacation, saying that she didn't have a horse in this race, since she doesn't gamble. If he can win in Baltimore, he'll give his Brooklyn born-and-bred owners the thrill of a lifetime, going for the Triple Crown in front of their home crowd in NY.
The colt that gave trainer Todd Pletcher his second Derby win also became the fifth consecutive betting favourite to wear the roses. He won his first with Super Saver in 2010.
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez (center) became a repeat victor at the Kentucky Derby. It appears bettors have the 1A-or-1B mindset, with Always Dreaming listed at +450. And he had done it after arriving in Churchill Downs and pretty much indicating he felt ready to go right away, a matter that did stoke some concern around the barn, as Pletcher switched exercise riders among other tweaks.
"There were a few anxious moments earlier in the week", Pletcher said.
"We felt like he sitting on 'go, ' nearly to the point where our main focus was trying to deliver at 6:45 on Saturday and not 6:45 on Thursday morning". A post-race examination found no injury.
Yet when the usual throng gathered at the top of the stretch of the 143rd Kentucky Derby on Saturday evening, there among those in good position bounced Always Dreaming, the colt who didn't race between last August 20 and this January 25.