John Velazquez & Todd Pletcher: Always Dreaming’s Jockey-Trainer Offer Winning Combination

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Todd Pletcher and John Velazquez have Always Dreaming peaking at the right time. (Getty)

Trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez are both looking for their first Preakness win entering the 2017 race. According to NBC Sports, Pletcher has struck out in all of his previous eight attempts.

Over his career, he has tended to focus on the Belmont, but Always Dreaming’s Kentucky Derby win changed all that. Always Dreaming is Pletcher’s first Derby horse to compete at the Preakness since Super Saver in 2010. Skeptics of Always Dreaming cited Pletcher’s one Derby win despite his many attempts as a reason to doubt the horse, but Always Dreaming was in prime shape as he cruised to a Derby victory adding another Churchill Downs win to Pletcher’s collection.

While it may not have come at Pimlico, Pletcher and Velazquez have had plenty of success. According to the Courier-Journal, the two have combined for 266 stakes victories and earned $138 million in their collaborations over the years. Velazquez is one of the most accomplished jockeys in the history of the sport earning $364 million over his career.

According to America’s Best Racing, Pletcher has earned $339,120,216 over his career. There is reason for optimism for that number to get bigger in Baltimore. Pletcher explained to the Los Angeles Times that his lack of appearances at the Preakness has nothing to do with his opinion of the race.

“I really have tremendous respect for the Preakness. It’s something I’d love to win. It’s just in a lot of cases, we felt like our horses needed a little more time to recover. Not all of them have bounced out of the Derby as well as it seems Dreaming has,” Pletcher told the Los Angeles Times.

Velazquez spoke with ESPN after their Derby victory about working with Pletcher.

“He’s [Pletcher] still hungry. I’m not getting any younger. Let’s put it that way. Winning with Todd, it was very special. … The feeling that you get is actually you are hungry, you are still here, you still have it,” Velazquez told ESPN.

Velazquez heaped high prize on their current race horse telling ESPN it is the best horse they have had together.

“This is the best horse Todd and I have ever come to the Kentucky Derby with. Being behind me for 24 years together, a long time for him to still trust in me and give me the opportunity, it’s not very often it happens in this business,” Velazquez told ESPN.

The duo is hoping they can find the Winner’s Circle once again at the Preakness.