Classic Empire has demonstrated obvious talent and competitive will but lacks a defining victory as a 3-year-old.
Of the 10 horses in the Preakness, half were not in the Kentucky Derby, putting all on eyes the two frontrunners, but Always Dreaming faded in the second half of the race and Cloud Computing edged Classic Empire just before the wire to take the win. In his fourth lifetime start, a horse that had never won a stakes race and was coming off a modest performance in the Wood Memorial beat a Kentucky Derby victor and the 2-year-old champion in the Preakness. In doing so he was only the fourth horse in 34 years to win the Preakness Stakes without first running in the Kentucky Derby.
Brown and owners Seth Klarman and William Lawrence used a conservative approach to set up Cloud Computing’s Preakness triumph.
“Absolutely”, Brown said. “Such a rare race, Triple Crown race, and a huge part for me, for our team, for our clientele”.
Classic Empire stood in second behind Always Dreaming until taking the lead at the top of the stretch. By a head, the New York-based Brown earned what many trainers wait a lifetime for.
Brown, 38, served as an understudy to a pair of Hall of Fame trainers, Shug McGaughey and the late Bobby Frankel.
“Two things in my opinion: One, I read where someone said the two weeks (between races) got him beat”.
Cloud Computing upset Kentucky Derby victor Always Dreaming’s hopes for a Triple Crown.
Ridden by Javier Castellano, Cloud Computing ran 1 3/16 miles in 1:55.98.
Senior Investment finished third.
The final race in the Triple Crown series, the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes, will be held June 10 in NY.
Techies, business leaders, and cloud computing fans, not surprisingly, seized on the occasion to celebrate. Then Mr. Brown gave me the opportunity to ride the horse in the Preakness.
“I came to the Preakness many, many times”, Klarman said. “It’s great for the family”.
Classic Empire was fourth in the Derby after being mugged at the start, but he was into the race immediately on Saturday, going right with Always Dreaming. In Kentucky, he had a ideal, front-running trip on a rain-soaked course that bedeviled many of his rivals – Classic Empire in particular.
Meanwhile, Castellano rode the flawless race and his horse got the ideal trip.
Always Dreaming was the first to throw in the towel, surrendering the lead to Classic Empire midway around the final turn.
Trainer Todd Pletcher said he’s not sure what’s next for Kentucky Derby champion Always Dreaming, who boarded a van to return to NY on Sunday morning. We were in the position we expected to be, and I think the turnaround (from the Derby) was a little too quick.
Should Always Dreaming emerge victorious, the Belmont Stakes on June 11 will quickly become one of the most anticipated sporting events of the year. He’d won his first four by a combined 23¼ lengths. “That horse had some momentum on him; he ran a great race, too”. They had watched Cloud Computing’s first three races, all this year at Aqueduct, and had noted his excellent look and his capacity to overcome hard starts.
In the Preakness, Always Dreaming will break from the No. 4 post, a spot that has produced 13 winners but none since Curlin in 2007.
“It just didn’t work out in the Wood”.
“This”, he said referring to owning race horses, “is gambling”. We grew up in racing. He turns 60 on Sunday.
Almost immediately after the Derby, Pletcher spoke about how impressively his horse rebounded from the hard race.
Ryan said he works closely with Brown in the selection of Klarman and Lawrence’s horses, which are sent to three different facilities to be prepped.