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Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Always Dreaming to race on as four-year-old as ulcers subside

First-crop son of Bodemeister makes recovery at WinStar Farm

Always Dreaming puts daylight between himself and his rivals in the Florida Derby
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Always Dreaming, the winner of this year's Kentucky Derby and Florida Derby, will return to training in November in preparation for a four-year-old campaign after a month of being turned out at his future stallion base of WinStar Farm.

The colt from the first crop of Bodemeister was found to have stomach ulcers after finishing ninth of 12 in the Travers Stakes, but was recently cleared by veterinarians after treatment.

"When Always Dreaming came to the farm, we had a complete physical conducted by Dr Bramlage and his team at Rood and Riddle," said Elliott Walden, president and chief executive of WinStar.

"He checked out extremely well and was in very good shape, except for his stomach. He had a pretty bad case of ulcers. Dr Steve Reed of Rood and Riddle said it was one of the worst cases of ulcers he has seen.

"The interesting thing is [trainer] Todd [Pletcher] said his appetite was always stellar, and he has been treated with Gastrogard all year. Todd is extremely vigilant on taking care of his horses, and it was a complete shock to all involved.

"The great news is we've been able to clear up the ulcers and he's doing fantastic right now. It also explains a lot about his regression in form, and we are extremely excited about his racing potential in 2018. The sky's the limit."

A gastroscopic image from mid-October showing the ulcers had almost fully cleared

Always Dreaming will have a follow-up scope of his stomach in the coming weeks and will continue to be turned out through to the end of the month. There are plans for him to resume light training at WinStar's training facility on November 1, before being sent back to Todd Pletcher's Florida operation.

"I'm glad we found something that we could fix," said Pletcher.

"Up until the Preakness, I had never seen Always Dreaming get beat at anything, whether it be a workout or race. He didn't act like a typical ulcer horse, but the pictures we got from the stomach scope were about as bad as I have seen.

"Gastrogard is a good treatment plan and works for the majority of my horses, but, every now and then, you run into a horse that gets ulcers through the medication. I can't wait to get him back."

Always Dreaming could potentially return to the races in late winter, with the Met Mile at Belmont or Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs considered as early targets for his return to Grade 1 action.

Record breaker

Having earned more than $2 million to date, Always Dreaming captured the Florida Derby by a decisive five lengths in the fastest time since Alydar in 1978.

That performance made him favourite for the Kentucky Derby a month later, and he delivered in the Run for the Roses with a near three-length victory.

Bred in Kentucky by Santa Rosa Partners, Always Dreaming is a half-brother to Grade 1-winning juvenile Hot Dixie Chick, out of the Graded winner Above Perfection.

WinStar Farm, SF Bloodstock and China Horse Club have joined the ownership group of MeB Racing, Brooklyn Boyz, Teresa Viola, St Elias, Siena Farm and West Point Thoroughbreds for Always Dreaming's four-year-old campaign and future stallion career.

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It explains a lot about his regression in form, and we are extremely excited about his racing potential in 2018
E.W. Terms
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