Florida Panthers owner Vincent Viola learned Wednesday his Kentucky Derby-winning colt Always Dreaming will start next to his chief rival, Classic Empire, at the 142nd Preakness Stakes on Saturday.
Always Dreaming, the 4-5 morning-line favorite, drew post position No. 4, with No. 5 going to Classic Empire, the second choice at 3-1 who finished fourth in the Derby on May 6.
It brought to Viola's mind some of horse racing's greatest rivalries.
"It could be like Alydar and Affirmed or Sunday Silence and Easy Goer," Viola told Monumental Network after the post-position draw at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. "Classic Empire looks great, he's training great. Always Dreaming is growing into himself. I think it'll be a great race."
Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1977 with Alydar finishing second in each race. Sunday Silence won the 1989 Kentucky Derby and Preakness before Easy Goer, second in those two races, defeated him in the Belmont Stakes.
Viola is a part-owner of Always Dreaming as part of Brooklyn Boyz Stables.
Classic Empire fell behind after getting bumped at the start of the Derby, which had a 20-horse field. The Preakness has 10 horses entered.
"[The No. 4 post] gives our jockey huge optionality in terms of decision-making," Viola said. "What we do know is that we won't have an influenced start in this race."