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Kentucky Derby draw: Favorites not unlucky in post positions

Exercise rider Daragh O'Donohue guides Kentucky Derby hopeful

Exercise rider Daragh O'Donohue guides Kentucky Derby hopeful Thunder Snow during a morning gallop at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Photo Credit: AP / Garry Jones

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As it usually is, the Kentucky Derby draw was uneventful. Four longshots got the dreaded post positions – 1, 2, 19, 20 – Thursday morning, and the four top choices were not unlucky. Classic Empire (4-1 morning-line favorite, post 14) and co-second choices Always Dreaming (5-1, post 5) and McCraken (5-1, post 15) did OK. So did Irish War Cry (6-1, post 17).

Manhasset residents Anthony Bonomo Sr. and his wife, MaryEllen, are part of Always Dreaming’s ownership group.

“I think nobody wants the 1 or the 20,’’ said Bonomo, a former chairman of the New York Racing Association’s board of directors. “Five is a good number for us. My wife’s birthday is May 5, 5-5.

“I think our horse is happy, healthy with a lot of energy, and we have the best jockey in the world, I believe, John Velazquez. Always Dreaming has looked good lately, so we’ll see what happens.”

Bonomo grew up in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, and his boyhood buddy, Vinnie Viola, lived two blocks away. Viola owns the NHL’s Florida Panthers, and he and his wife, Teresa, have a piece of Always Dreaming. Anthony Bonomo Jr. helped pick out the colt for his parents’ Brooklyn Boyz Stables, and he went for $350,000 at Keeneland’s September 2015 yearling sale. MaryEllen Bonomo named him.

Bonomo Jr., 29, played four years of varsity baseball at Adelphi, and during breaks worked at Dominick Schettino’s Belmont Park barn. He started as a hot walker and progressed to groom, stable foreman and assistant trainer. “You have to learn from the bottom,’’ he said.

The third-year law student at St. John’s will take final exams next week. “After this weekend I’ll go home to Queens, put up the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign and just study,” he said.

Schettino trained Always Dreaming as a 2-year-old when he ran third and second before being turned over to Todd Pletcher. He’s 3-for-3 this year, and his five-length romp April 1 in the Florida Derby made a big splash.

“I’ve been dreaming since April 1,” Bonomo Sr. said. “If you can’t dream, you can’t be in this sport.”

Post, Horse, Odds

1. Lookin at Lee, 20-1

2. Thunder Snow, 20-1

3. Fast and Accurate, 50-1

4. Untrapped, 30-1

5. Always Dreaming, 5-1

6. State of Honor, 30-1

7. Girvin, 15-1

8. Hence, 15-1

9. Irap, 20-1

10. Gunnevera, 15-1

11. Battle of Midway, 30-1

12. Sonneteer, 50-1

13. J Boys Echo, 20-1

14. Classic Empire, 4-1

15. McCraken, 5-1

16. Tapwrit, 20-1

17. Irish War Cry, 6-1

18. Gormley, 15-1

19. Practical Joke, 20-1

20. Patch, 30-1


(In order of preference)

Royal Mo, 20-1

Master Plan, 50-1

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