THE American Triple Crown bid has failed as Cloud Computing scored an upset win in the 2017 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on Sunday morning.
The New York-based colt was the first Triple Crown race victory for trainer Chad Brown, who made the tough decision of bypassing the Kentucky Derby to target the Preakness Stakes, but it worked out beautifully.
Having only its fourth race day start (the fewest runs by a Preakness winner), Cloud Computing didn’t race as a two-year-old due to injury and it was a strategy that came off.
“Certainly, I’m not going to dispute the fact that I brought in a fresh horse as part of our strategy,” Brown said. “Our horse is very talented too.
“Classic Empire and Always Dreaming are two outstanding horses, and our strategy was, if we are ever going to beat them, let’s take them on two weeks’ rest when we have six (weeks), and it worked.”
Co-owner Seth Klarman applauded the decision to show patience, especially on rain-affected tracks.
“Some of the reason that we won today was because we were patient and didn’t throw an inexperienced horse against a 20-horse field in the Derby on a very difficult track,” Klarman said. “We made a great call.”
Race favourite Always Dreaming was engaged in a two-horse war with Classic Empire, but the Kentucky Derby winner was gone on the turn which left Classic Empire in front, but Cloud Computing stormed home in the sloppy conditions in front of 140,327 fans at Pimlico.
Winning jockey Javier Castellano scored his second Preakness win after riding Bernardini in 2006.
“We’ve been working for a long time for this moment,” he said. “It’s great for the family.”
The $17.30 chance at CrownBet got the better of the more fancied runners with trainers of both Always Dreaming and Classic Empire offering no excuses for their individual efforts.
“We didn’t have an excuse,” said Todd Pletcher, who trains Always Dreaming. “We were in a position we expected to be, and I think the turnaround was a little too quick. He ran so hard in the Derby, and today just wasn’t his day.”
Mark Casse, trainer of Classic Empire, thought his runner might have pinched the race at the top of the straight where it led by three lengths, but the battle throughout with Always Dreaming may have decided its fate.
“Of course,” Casse said. “But I thought I was going to win a lot of times before, so it doesn’t shock me.”