Berwick woman among Derby winner's owners
Staff and wire reports
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—A Berwick woman won a share of the roses on Saturday.
Press accounts say Janice LeBlanc is one of the owners of Always Dreaming, the horse that won Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.
“He’s a frisky horse and he is ready to go and they actually have to calm him down. He loves to race. He’s very fast,” LeBlanc told TV station KADN before the race. She also called the Kentucky Derby experience “better than Vegas.”
The dark brown colt then fulfilled a dream come true for a multitude of people by winning the marquee race going away on Saturday.
A succession of Brooklyn accents spoke loudly in the joyous aftermath of Always Dreaming’s 2 3/4-length victory as the favorite at Churchill Downs. Leading the way was co-owner Anthony Bonomo, who thanked many people for claiming one of sport’s most coveted trophies, including grooms, hotwalkers and exercise riders.
“I don’t even know if there’s words that could describe this,” Bonomo said. “It’s a team. We can’t forget.”
Always Dreaming’s primary ownership is composed of Bonomo’s Brooklyn Boyz Stables and Teresa Viola, whose husband Vincent owns the NHL’s Florida Panthers. Vincent Viola was born in Brooklyn.
But front and center was Bonomo, who heads a medical malpractice insurance firm in New York and is a big-time political donor.
The crowning achievement for the New Yorkers also provided redemption of sorts for Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez.
Pletcher’s penchant for saturating the Derby field with entrants — 45 in all — had yielded only a 2010 victory with Super Saver. Velazquez won the Run for the Roses in 2011 aboard Animal Kingdom but had mostly been a non-factor since.
But that combination, along with Always Dreaming’s three straight victories in five career starts, helped the horse surpass Classic Empire as the 9-2 favorite Saturday morning. Always Dreaming then followed through in the slop by coming on in the backstretch and taking charge entering the turn for home.
An emotional Pletcher credited Bonomo and Viola for laying out the strategy that earned them all a satisfying victory.
“As you know in this business, sometimes it works out. A lot of times it doesn’t,” Pletcher said of the strategy devised with Bonomo and Viola. “When you kind of have a vision four or five months in advance, then it all comes together, it’s especially rewarding.”