BALTIMORE, MD– Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence’s Cloud Computing tracked a hotly-contested pace duel between Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and Classic Empire into the far turn before launching a determined stretch run and pulling off a 12-1 upset in Saturday’s 142nd Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.
The lightly-raced colt, who had won only one of three previous starts, edged Classic Empire, the 2016 juvenile male champion and 2-1 second betting choice, by a head while awarding trainer Chad Brown with his first success in a Triple Crown event.
“I was thinking about this in the winner’s circle,” said Brown. “I’ve always praised my mentor, (the late Hall of Famer) Bobby Frankel, who taught me so much. And it just seems like he’s won every race but the Derby and Preakness, really. This is the only race that eluded him in his unbelievable career. I feel this is for him, at least from my viewpoint. And without his mentorship, I certainly wouldn’t be here.”
The Preakness produced all-time records in both handle and attendance. The total handle for the 14-race program that included eight stakes, four graded, was $97,168,658, a 3% increase over last year’s betting total of $94,127,434.
A crowd of 140,327 eclipsed the 2016 attendance of 135,256. Grammy and Billboard Award-winning electronic music artist Zedd joined country music superstar Sam Hunt, Good Charlotte, LOCASH, and High Valley to entertain the record crowd as part of the annual InfieldFest.
After finishing third in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial and second in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes after breaking his maiden in his February 11 debut, Cloud Computing is the first horse to win the Preakness after bypassing the Kentucky Derby since Bernardini gave jockey Javier Castellano his first victory in the 1 3/16-mile Classic in 2006. The Brown trainee gave Castellano his second victory in the Maryland Jockey Club’s signature event.
Always Dreaming, the 6-5 favorite who had registered a 2 3/4-length triumph in the Kentucky Derby, gave way on the turn into the homestretch and finished eighth under John Velazquez.
“He didn’t seem to relish the track, but I don’t really think that was it,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “It was just that he put so much into the Derby that it wasn’t meant to be.”
Always Dreaming set the pace in front of the grandstand, around the first turn, and along the backstretch, pressed on his outside by Classic Empire during fractions of :23.16 :46.81, and 1:11 through the first 6 furlongs. Meanwhile, Cloud Computing rated nicely behind the dueling pace horses while saving ground before being eased to the outside on the turn into the homestretch as Always Dreaming began to give way. Classic Empire opened a 3-length lead at the top of the stretch under Julien Leparoux, but Cloud Computing gained steadily before edging to a slight lead approaching the wire.
Cloud Computing ran 1 3/16 miles in 1:55.98 over a fast track that started Saturday’s program as muddy.
Senior Investment closed late from the rear to finish third. Lookin At Lee also closed late, missing show by a 1/2-length and crossing a nose in front of Gunnevera, who was a neck ahead of Multiplier. Conquest Mo Money never showed the early speed that many expected, finishing seventh ahead of Always Dreaming, Hence, and Term of Art.
Cloud Computing returned $28.80, $8.60, and $6. Classic Empire brought back $4.40 and $4, while Senior Investment paid $10.20 to show.
Additional Preakness Stakes Quotes
Trainer Chad Brown, Cloud Computing: “It’s unbelievable. A lot of teamwork. It couldn’t happen to greater clients than Seth Klarman and Bill Lawrence. Seth, he got into racing by coming to Pimlico. He was just telling me, he remembers coming out as a kid to the infield. He grew up in Baltimore. They are very deserving owners. It’s just unbelievable.”
Jockey Javier Castellano, Cloud Computing: “I think I always had a lot of confidence in this horse, but I didn’t have the opportunity to ride the horse. Then Mr. Brown gave me the opportunity to ride the horse in the Preakness. It was a great combination, and I am blessed to have the opportunity and enjoy the ride.
“I spoke to Mr. Brown before the race. We had a plan and we were sticking to the plan and it worked out great. We analyzed the race and handicapped the race together, we had a lot of thoughts and put them together, and I think that is the most important thing in a relationship. We have a great communication together, and I think that is the key to winning the race.”
Trainer Mark Casse, Classic Empire: “I thought he ran outstanding. I always worry about him starting because he stumbles a little bit. He won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile going out after it, and I said to Julien, ‘Second doesn’t mean anything.’ I said, ‘Let’s go and try to win this thing.’ It ended up getting us in the end. We were going to be in it, and he said, ‘OK.’ We were going to be aggressive, and that’s what we did.
“I know his mind tends to wander, and I was a little worried about that. I was hoping that horse came to him earlier. He tried to kick back, but we were second best today.”
Jockey Julien Leparoux, Classic Empire: “We had a good trip. We got the trip we wanted, outside Always Dreaming. The only thing is, Always Dreaming backed out of the race early, so I got to the lead early, maybe too early. I got to the lead early, and the winner just came at us at the end. He ran a big, big race. No excuses.”
Trainer Kenny McPeek, Senior Investment: “It was a great race. I was happy with him. He showed me he could compete against these kind and has continued to improve. He’s a really good horse with a huge future, and I think we’re just getting started with him. A mile and a 1/2, and the Belmont is going to be really up his alley. The two who finished in front of him are obviously really good horses, but maybe if we would have had a little cleaner trip, we maybe could have finished closer. He’s such a big horse, it was pretty obvious he was going to need time to develop, so it’s not a big surprise that he’s come along. He’s a really, really smart horse.
Jockey Channing Hill, Senior Investment: “The race went the way I expected. I got a little stopped around the first turn when (Steve) Asmussen’s horse (Hence) got the jump on me. I had to step on the brakes a little bit. Halfway down the lane, he showed his heart. I couldn’t be happier with this colt. He’s got a legitimate chance to win the Belmont. See you in New York.”
Trainer Steve Asmussen, Lookin At Lee & Hence: “You know, Hence disappoints. Maybe it’s the stage, more than anything else. Lookin At Lee keeps trying. Fourth in the Preakness, second in the Derby, he’s still trying. I think the circumstances today were ideal for these (Derby) horses to come back, if at all possible, a beautifully cool day. Whether or not they relished the going, I was very glad to see the racetrack get in as good a shape as it did for the running of the Preakness, considering how it looked the last few races Friday.
“Watching the race today from Always Dreaming, I was surprised. I felt that, watching his performance in the Derby, that there was a better chance of beating him here in two weeks — because of him being lightly-raced and the spacing — than in the Belmont. But just like horse racing always, it’s never about one horse. It’s about all of them.”
Jockey Corey Lanerie, Lookin At Lee: “I thought the track suited him better for the Derby, being a little more sealed, maybe. But I was back there where I thought I would be, and when I called on him, he was there. We just didn’t get it done. At the 3/8 pole, I was hoping to grind them down and that they would come back to me. I didn’t have the charge I had at Churchill. Even from the gate, to me, he just didn’t travel as well over the track.”
Jockey Florent Geroux, Hence: “He ran even, but he just didn’t have any punch in the end. I had a great trip, saved ground, but did not have any run.”
Trainer Antonio Sano, Gunnevera: “No excuses. It just wasn’t his race.”
Jockey Mike Smith, Gunnevera: “I had a great trip. He lost his action at about the 1/2-mile pole for some reason. Other than that, I had a great trip.”
Trainer Brendan Walsh, Multiplier: “He finished good and he ran a decent race. He tried hard, so it’s hard to be disappointed with him. It looked like he needed more ground. He did get a little stuck down there (on the rail). He had a horse outside him. I thought there would be a lot more space with 10 runners, but there was a horse down on him the whole way, and he never really got a break or really got a chance to get out of there. Joel (Rosario) said when he got rolling, he really rolled home for him, and he said he finished up great.”
Jockey Joel Rosario, Multiplier: “It was a good trip, but I got stopped a little. I’m not saying I would have won the race, but maybe (would have finished) third.”
Trainer Miguel Hernandez, Conquest Mo Money: “I was a little disappointed with the race. I thought he would be more in the race, but it was a little too fast for him. He ran two times already from the outside post, so that didn’t bother him. My ride tried to put him in the race, but it didn’t work out. I think he could go to the Belmont.”
Jockey Jorge Carreno, Conquest Mo Money: “My horse broke a little slow. My horse just didn’t respond down the stretch. He did try, but today wasn’t his day.”
Trainer Todd Pletcher, Always Dreaming: (Was the pace too fast?) “No. Classic Empire held on for second. He probably went pretty ambitiously at us and maybe cost himself the race. But we didn’t have an excuse. We were in the 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.
“I was a little concerned coming by the wire the first time. He was there, but it wasn’t like he was dragging Johnny there, actually. It felt like he was on a loose rein by the time they turned up the backside. That’s kind of what we anticipated Classic Empire would do, take it to us, but he just didn’t have that reserve today.”
“Initially, it looks like he came back well. We’ll savor the Derby victory.”
Jockey John Velazquez, Always Dreaming: “He just got beat. I didn’t have it. That’s it. Not much to say.
“I knew I was in trouble on the backstretch when the other horse got to him, almost head-to-head, and engaged him. I knew I didn’t have it. That’s horse racing. He didn’t have it.”
(Was it too fast on the front end?) “Look at the horse that was next to me.”
Trainer Doug O’Neill, Term of Art: “I thought Jose had him in a perfect spot, and then around the 3/8 pole, he said a horse came over on him a little bit, and Term of Art overreacted a little bit, sucked out of it, and dropped out of the race, then he came on a little bit in the end. He’s still a champ in our mind. I love this horse. He’s a talented horse, and one of these days, he is going to put everything together, and he is going to be a big-time horse.”
Jockey Jose Ortiz, Term of Art: “I put him in the race. I was sitting great right behind the horse that won the race. He didn’t give me any kick.”
Pimlico Race Course