Derby winner Always Dreaming heading to Preakness early

first_img(THE Sports Xchange) – Always Dreaming, coming off an impressive win at the Kentucky Derby, will get an early start on preparations for the May 20 Preakness.The colt is expected to arrive at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore this morning, hoping to avoid some early struggles adjusting to Churchill Downs when he arrived in Kentucky.Always Dreaming ran through a soggy track to win the Kentucky Derby by 2 3/4 lengths on Saturday, giving trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez their second victories in the race but their first together.Always Dreaming opened a clear lead in the stretch and finished the 1 1/4 miles in 2 minutes 3.59 seconds. He paid $11.40 as the 9-2 favourite.“It feels awesome,” Pletcher told the Baltimore Sun on Sunday. “I think it’s still sinking in. The first one’s special but this one is just as good or even better. We felt coming in we had a good chance and we had some anxious moments during the week. But we were just happy to see him deliver the performance we felt he was capable of.”Pletcher had to make adjustments with the workouts leading up to the Derby as Always Dreaming refused to relax.The trainer has decided to give the champion almost two weeks to adjust to Pimlico. Pletcher said Always Dreaming will gallop daily at Pimlico rather than a harder, timed workout.“He was so headstrong when he got here (for the Derby) that I don’t think staying here for another week is going to be an advantage,” Pletcher said. “I don’t think going to Belmont for a week and then moving again is an advantage.So just looking at what the options are, I think Pimlico, there aren’t usually a lot of horses training there, and it’ll be a quiet environment. It’ll give us time to settle in and if we need to, make any adjustments.”Pletcher is winless in eight attempts at the Preakness. His previous Derby winner, Super Saver, finished a disappointing eighth at Pimlico in 2010.The field for the 142nd Preakness is already taking shape.Derby runner-up Lookin At Lee is “definitely a possibility” to run, trainer Steve Asmussen said.Classic Empire, the morning-line favourite and fourth-place finisher in the Derby, was bothered by a swollen right eye, trainer Mark Casse said, adding if the condition doesn’t linger, he will strongly consider a shot at the Preakness.last_img read more

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Rally falls short as Stone’s squad stumbles against SDSU

first_imgThe Wisconsin women’s basketball team used a furious second-half rally to climb back into the game Thursday night, but fell short to South Dakota State 68-65. The first half proved the downfall for the Badgers as they dropped their fourth game in a row.”We just had a horrendous time handling the basketball in the first half,” head coach Lisa Stone said. “I’m disappointed in the first half. We got down and lacked intensity. It was a courageous battle for us to come back, obviously, but it was too little, too late.”South Dakota State had just two field goals in the last 14 minutes of the game, including an eight-minute scoring drought when the Badgers cut it to two. The Badgers trailed by 16 at the half and as many as 21 early in the second half, but went on a 19-0 run that brought the 4,670 in attendance to their feet.The team was sparked by freshman Christine Spencer, who came off the bench to help with defense and even knocked down a 3-pointer for her first points of the year.”I thought we got a nice little lift from Spencer. That’s probably the silver lining of the second half,” Stone said.”When [Christine Spencer] came in, she was determined. Her defense and just our intensity was completely different from the first half,” sophomore forward Danielle Ward said. The teams then traded baskets until the final minute, when Janese Banks, who had a team-high 15 points, hit a runner in the lane to cut it to one with just under a minute to go. On the ensuing defensive possession, Banks took a charge to give the ball back to the Badgers with a chance to take their first lead since early in the first half. Jolene Anderson drove and kicked it to Ashley Josephson, who had a good look, but missed a 3-point attempt. The Badgers fouled, freshman Jennifer Warkenthien missed the first end of a 1-and-1 and the Badgers had a second attempt to take the lead, but Danielle Ward’s jumper rimmed out. This time, Warkenthien dropped both free throws to take a three-point advantage. The comeback attempt came to an end when Banks’ desperation 3 at the buzzer missed everything. Banks earned her first career double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough on this day.”[South Dakota State] wasn’t afraid of us at all, and they shouldn’t be,” Stone said. “(Head coach) Aaron (Johnson) does a great job. They are a good team that knows how to win.”Sophomore guard Andrea Verdegan, who finished the game with 19 points, led South Dakota State. The Wisconsin native had hit just three shots from beyond the arc all year, but knocked down five in the game.”I did grow up a Badger fan and it feels nice. This is a big game and I was really excited. We knew that they were going to be really tough, especially on their home court,” Verdegan said.The South Dakota State defense caused the Badgers fits all day as evidenced by the total number of turnovers (26) to field goals made (25) by the Badgers.”We feel like if we just allowed Wisconsin to go through their half-court offense and execute and have to try and stop those guards, it would be really hard to do that,” Johnson said. “Defensively, one of the things we try to do is be really distracting. We’re not always going to be the quickest and most athletic team out there, but we have a style and a system that really requires us to try and disrupt other offenses.”Wisconsin must now search for answers, and it gets no easier as they head to Lawrence, Kan., for a date with the Jayhawks. The University of Kansas is currently undefeated at 6-0 and is outscoring its opponents by 20.8 points per game. Senior Crystal Kemp leads the team in scoring (15.7) and rebounds (6.5). The last meeting between the two was 10 years ago in the NCAA tournament, where Wisconsin upset the Jayhawks in the first round 73-72. “We have to start over now. Our record is now 0-0. A brand new season starts tomorrow and there’s going to be some changes,” Stone said.last_img read more

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