Cloud Computing takes Preakness as Derby victor Always Dreaming fades

Cloud Computing takes Preakness as Derby victor Always Dreaming fades

Cloud Computing, second from left, ridden by Javier Castellano, wins the 142nd Preakness Stakes horse race ahead of Classic Empire, ridden by Julien Leparoux, Saturday, May 20, 2017, at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.

Always Dreaming captured the country's attention two weeks ago, and his aggressive running style seemed perfectly suited for the shorter Preakness, especially against a green horse like Cloud Computing that entered the race with only three starts.

This was supposed to be a duel between the Kentucky Derby victor, Always Dreaming, and Classic Empire, a hard-luck colt that most believed was the best 3-year-old horse in the country. Always Dreaming is always close up and jockey John Velazquez put him in that position.

"I thought the track suited him better for the Derby, being a little more sealed maybe", Lanerie said, with sealed meaning the track is packed down to keep water from penetrating instead of being harrowed. The Jockey Club, which governs horse racing in North America, has pretty strict rules for what you can and can't name a horse. "He ran so hard in the Derby and today just wasn't his day", said Pletcher. Classic Empire looked to have the race won at the turn, but Cloud Computing found some extra resources from somewhere, drew level and managed to take the race by a nose.

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Trainer Steve Asmussen said Lookin At Lee, second in the Derby and fourth in the Preakness, will head to NY on Sunday morning to prepare for the Belmont.

"When I spoke to the ownership after the race (Saturday), we all decided that we wouldn't make any decisions until we got him home and evaluated how he's doing".

Turns out, Always Dreaming really wasn't ready for such a quick turnaround.

After hearing Pletcher report how well his Derby victor had trained leading up to the Preakness, few could have imagined Always Dreaming would produce such a dud at Old Hilltop.

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Trainer Chad Brown said Cloud Computing came out of his upset victory in good order. He was unable to reproduce his Kentucky Derby effort when coming back in two weeks at Pimlico. The Derby victor finished eighth in the field of 10, fading after dueling with Classic Empire through the first mile of the race.

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. He just failed to hold off Cloud Computing after pressing a strong pace on Saturday when finishing second. "I was hoping (Cloud Computing) came at him earlier".

Oh, and one more thing, Always Dreaming's Preakness showing was the worst by a Kentucky Derby victor since Super Saver also ran eighth in 2010. "I think possibly 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 hard track", said Klarman.

Castellano asked Cloud Computing to go and he responded, rallying through the stretch and catching Classic Empire at the wire. Brown had a fresh horse coming off a six-week layoff, and that was the difference.

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There will be no Triple Crown this year, rendering next month's Belmont Stakes a nice race but one that has now lost its potentially historic dimensions. The crowd of 140,327 and wagering total of $94,127,434 were records, bettering the marks set last year.Ridden by Javier Castellano, Cloud Computing ran 1 3/16 miles in 1:55.98 and paid $28.80, $8.60 and $6. We just didn't get it done. "He showed a lot of heart, this horse", said Brown. "I knew I was in trouble on the backstretch when the other horse got to him, nearly head to head, and engaged him".

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