Cloud Computing wins Preakness in upset

Danny Woods
May 31, 2017

Classic Empire and Kentucky Derby champion Always Dreaming battled for the lead, while Cloud Computing stalked the pair before finding another gear deep in the stretch to overtake Classic Empire at the wire by a head.

Cloud Computing secured sufficient qualifying points for the May 6 GI Kentucky Derby, but his connections elected to bypass the race and point the lightly raced colt towards the Preakness.

Trainer Chad Brown said Cloud Computing came out of the race in good shape, but he seemed concerned of running the colt on three weeks' rest or at the 1 1/2-mile distance of the Belmont on June 10.

Always Dreaming stopped so suddenly, there will be those that say the only reason Always he won the Derby was because he had a dream trip along the Churchill Downs assembly-line rail that allowed numerous winners on the day prior to and on Derby Day to hang on longer than they should have.

"I told Vinnie: I never like to make any decision immediately after a race, win or lose", Pletcher said, referring to co-owner Vinnie Viola. "We had a lot of talks, so we put it together".

The victor was not controversial, and while Leparoux should have to explain to trainer Mark Casse exactly why he moved Classic Empire so soon, there were no excuses. We were in the position we expected to be and I think the turnaround was a little too quick. A year ago he set the Saratoga record with 40 wins, and later was voted his first Eclipse Award as leading trainer.

Among the prominent Klarman and Lawrence horses prepped by de Meric have been grade 1 winners Annals of Time, Practical Joke, Currency Swap, and Subordination, among others.

Classic Empire has demonstrated obvious talent and competitive will but lacks a defining victory as a 3-year-old.

Classic Empire, by Toronto-based Mark Casse, a nine-time Sovereign Award victor as Canadian racing's top trainer, returned $4.40 and $4, and 31-1 shot Senior Investment was another 4 3/4 lengths back in third and paid $10.20. " ... I said to (jockey) Julien (Leparoux), 'Second doesn't mean anything.' I said, 'Let's go and try to win this thing.' It ended up getting us in the end". The veteran jockey actually rode Gunnevera in the Derby and was asked to do the same in the Preakness but opted to ride for Brown, who he works with regularly in NY.

Lookin At Lee is a closer who could come running late under Lanerie.

"I know I'm young, but you have to have an incredible team of people that share a common goal", Brown said. "It's great for the family". "We made a great call."Always Dreaming and Classic Empire dueled for most of the race before Classic Empire stuck his nose in front midway on the far turn". Brown is generally patient with his runners and he likes to give them several weeks between starts.

Casse said he'd likely take blinkers off of Classic Empire for the Belmont.

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Always Dreaming and Classic Empire broke well from the gate and galloped to the lead with Always Dreaming along the rail and Classic Empire on his shoulder.

Pletcher still couldn't give a definitive reason why Always Dreaming faded so badly to finish a disappointing eighth. "(Always Dreaming) ran so hard in the Derby and today just wasn't his day". "Coming into the Preakness, I thought if something would happen with Always Dreaming that I had a legitimate chance to win".

"He actually scared me a little bit, because he was feeling so good when he went out that in his first couple strides, he went to try to buck Nick off and kind of stumbled a little bit", Pletcher said.

"Our horse is very talented too".

Cloud Computing's training for the Preakness consisted of four moves over the Belmont training track, the last being 4 furlongs in 48.85 breezing on the Saturday before the Preakness.

"It just didn't work out in the Wood".

"We got a attractive, handsome trip in the Preakness and the horse really responded", said Brown, whose Preakness victor was his first starter in the 13⁄16-mile race. He turns 60 on Sunday.

"My father was a jockey for 25 years, my uncle, my brother. we grew up all racing, it's very special for us", he said.

"In my regular life I'm a long-term value investor".

Klarman, who races as Klaravich Stables, is a minority owner of the Boston Red Sox.

Lookin At Lee once again hit the board picking up minor awards with a closing fourth.

"That is a fabulous example of it", said Asmussen, who also trains ninth-place Preakness finisher Hence.

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