Always Dreaming, winner of the 2017 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) and Xpressbet Florida Derby (G1), has been retired from racing and will join the stallion ranks at WinStar Farm, it was announced Sept. 5.
A son of Bodemeister , Always Dreaming was campaigned for most of his career by Teresa Viola Racing Stables, St. Elias Stables, MEB Racing Stables, Brooklyn Boyz Stables, Siena Farm, and West Point Thoroughbreds. WinStar Farm, SF Bloodstock, and China Horse Club joined the ownership group for the dark bay colt's 4-year-old season and stallion career.
"He was brilliantly fast, and he has everything you want in a stallion—looks, pedigree, and performance," said Elliott Walden, president, CEO, and racing manager of WinStar Farm. "We dream about the Kentucky Derby every day, but the race I really liked was the Florida Derby. When I saw the teletimer, I was amazed. We are excited to add a potentially breed-shaping stallion from the Unbridled line, which has proven to be today's preeminent classic sire line."
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Always Dreaming broke his maiden by an eye-catching 11 1/2 lengths in January of his 3-year-old season and rattled off four consecutive victories, culminating with his triumph in the Kentucky Derby. He captured the Florida Derby by five lengths in his stakes debut, finishing the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.47—the fastest since Alydar in 1978.
That Florida Derby performance made Always Dreaming the favorite for the Kentucky Derby, which he won by 2 3/4 lengths, the largest margin of victory in the Run for the Roses in the last half dozen years.
"He was one of the most athletic horses I have ever trained," Pletcher said. "He has a terrific bounce to him. I compare him to a panther—a fluid mover."
"When we think about investing in a stallion, I want them to be athletic, fast, and out of a top mare," said Tom Ryan of SF Bloodstock. "Always Dreaming has it all."
Bred in Kentucky by Gerry Dilger and Mike Ryan's Santa Rosa Partners, Always Dreaming was a $350,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale Book 1 purchase from the first crop of Bodemeister. He is out of grade 3-winning, grade 1-placed, and multiple grade 1-producing Above Perfection and is a half brother to grade 1-winning juvenile Hot Dixie Chick.
Always Dreaming concluded his racing career with a record of 4-2-2 from 11 starts and earnings of $2,415,860. He went winless in five starts after his Kentucky Derby victory. He has taken up residence at WinStar, where he will begin his new career as a stallion in 2019 for a stud fee of $25,000.