“Always Dreaming” wins Kentucky Derby in slop

John Velazquez rides Always Dreaming to victory in the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 6, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — “Always Dreaming” has won the 143rd Kentucky Derby, pulling away from “Lookin at Lee” in the slop.

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.

“Battle of Midway” finished third in the 20-horse field.

“Always Dreaming” covered the 1 1/4-mile track in 2:03.59.

“Always Dreaming” overtook early favorite “Classic Empire” as the betting choice on Saturday morning, briefly sharing that status with “Irish War Cry” before holding on entering the gate.

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.

“Always Dreaming” paid $11.40, $7.20 and $5.80. “Lookin At Lee” returned $26.60 and $15.20, while “Battle of Midway” paid $20.80.

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