9-2 favorite Always Dreaming wins Kentucky Derby in the slop

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Always Dreaming splashed through the slop to win the Kentucky Derby by 2 ¾ lengths, giving trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez their second victories in the race but their first together.

Race officials confirmed the win for Always Dreaming minutes after he crossed the finish line first at Churchill Downs. The win gives trainer Todd Pletcher his second Derby win.

Pletcher and Velazquez have teamed up often over the years and are the sport’s leading money winners. On their own, they were a combined 2 for 63 coming into America’s greatest race.

Together, they were unbeatable on a cool and rainy Saturday at Churchill Downs.

Starting from the No. 5 post position, the 9-2 favorite made his push on the backstretch into the lead by the far turn.

Always Dreaming began stretching it out from there to win by 2 3/4 lengths over long shot Lookin At Lee, with Battle of Midway five lengths back.

Sent off at 9-2 odds, Always Dreaming made it the fifth straight year that a Derby favorite has won, the longest such stretch since the 1970s.

Always Dreaming was followed across the finish line Saturday by a pair of longshots: 33-1 Lookin At Lee and 40-1 Battle of Midway.

Always Dreaming ran 1 ¼ miles in 2:03.59 and paid $11.40, $7.20 and $5.80.