ELMONT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The Kentucky Derby earlier this month was won by a horse that calls New York home.
For Always Dreaming’s owners, the dream of winning was first imagined 50 years ago while sitting on their Brooklyn stoop.
At Belmont Park, Anthony Bonamo greets everyone warmly.
“It’s nice because they truly are friends of mine,” Bonamo told CBS2’s Steve Overmyer.
Bonamo and his childhood friend Vincent Viola are the owners of the Brooklyn Boyz stables. They own 19 horses. None had even raced in the Kentucky Derby until this year.
“You’re always dreaming every time you buy a horse that it’s going to do something special,” Bonamo said. “That’s what you’re dreaming of, but did you ever think the dream would come true? I don’t know. I can’t say as we sit here that I really thought it would happen.”
Bonamo said his first experience with horses was seeing them pull fruit carts in his neighborhood. He said he and his friends would also try to sneak into Aqueduct and try to beg people of age to place a bet for them.
Bonamo and Viola grew up in Williamsburg, long before it became a hipster’s paradise. Back then, it was a neighborhood known for hard work.
“We grew up learning that competition’s good,” Bonamo said. “It prepares you for the rest of your life. Winning was what we wanted to do because it’s bragging rights.”
Always Dreaming is currently in Baltimore for Saturday’s Preakness, the second leg of the Triple Crown. If he completes the Triple Crown at Belmont, he’ll join horse racing immortality.
“If we were fortunate enough to be here for the Belmont Stakes, which is our hometown race, and the Triple Crown — yeah, I’m dreaming. I’m dreaming,” Bonamo said.
Always Dreaming finished his final work out Thursday and ran so strong that he is now the overwhelming favorite (4-to-5 odds) at the Preakness.