Cloud Computing Returns to N.Y., Familiar Faces Expected for Belmont

Posted May 31, 2017

At Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Classic Empire crossed the finish line second.

BALTIMORE (AP) — Cloud Computing ran down Classic Empire in the final strides Saturday to win the Preakness by a head.

Always Dreaming, the Kentucky Derby victor, finished a disappointing 8th after running neck-and-neck with Classic Empire for the first 3/4-mile of the race. Frankel died in 2009 after an incredible career that included a still American record 25 Grade I stakes wins in 2003, the year he won his only Triple Crown race with Empire Maker in the Belmont Stakes. We knew he had a lot of courage and the hope was that the pace would set up, up front, and it did.

The clear favorite, Always Dreaming, who took the first jewel in Kentucky, wound up finishing eighth this run, despite sharing a strong lead with Classic Empire - who finished second - for the first half of the race.

Casse said he had no problem with the tactics jockey Julien Leparoux used on Classic Empire. "We just got beat", said trainer Mark Casse. To his outside sat Classic Empire for a first half-mile that was quick but not insane at:46.81 seconds and a reasonable three-quarters in 1:11.00. Every other horse in the field had double-digit odds to win. The only thing, if Always Dreaming had carried him a little farther, I think he probably wins.

Cloud Computing ($17.30) was one of five fresh horses in the Preakness who didn't run two weeks ago in the Derby.

Cloud Computing was racing for just the fourth time, but was ridden by champion jockey Javier Castellano for the first time.

The 3-year-olds now head to NY where in three weeks they will contest the Belmont Stakes. Castellano won for the second time. Then Mr. Brown gave me the opportunity to ride the horse in the Preakness.

"He looks good, bright, alert, sound, healthy, happy", Pletcher said.

Preakness runner-up Classic Empire and fourth-place finisher Lookin At Lee are most likely to enter the Belmont and complete all three races of the Triple Crown series. That was additionally the year that Barbaro broke down after leaving the starting gate.

Cloud Computing has never run a bad race in his three career starts and he was over seven lengths clear of his nearest rival in the Gotham Stakes in only his third start. "That's kind of what we anticipated Classic Empire would do, take it to us, but (Always Dreaming) just didn't have that reserve".

That left Always Dreaming trainer Todd Pletcher, whose $338 million in earnings soar past all others, in a situation similar to his first try at this with a Derby victor, in 2010.

"I'm very excited", Castellano said immediately after the race. "(Always Dreaming) ran so hard in the Derby and today just wasn't his day". "We're going to find out more, but when you look at what he's done this year, winning his first couple of races by open lengths, winning the Florida Derby and the Kentucky Derby by the margins he did, it's pretty exceptional". Although Cloud Computing - a first-crop son of Maclean's Music out of an A.P. Indy mare - had enough points to secure a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate, his connections made a decision to pass on the first leg of the Triple Crown and wait for the Preakness.