Bryan Armen Graham: Cloud Computing, a 13-1 longshot, overtook Classic Empire in the final sixteenth while Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming faded to finish eighth
Cloud Computing overtook Classic Empire in the final sixteenth to spring the upset in Saturdays 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes before a record crowd of 140,327 at Pimlico Race Course.
The dark bay colt, a 13-1 longshot ridden by Javier Castellano and trained by Chad Brown, won by a head to become only the fourth horse in 34 years to win the middle jewel of American thoroughbred racings Triple Crown after not running in the Kentucky Derby.
Classic Empire came in second, 4 3/4 lengths ahead of Senior Investment, who finished third at 30-1.
Always Dreaming, the Kentucky Derby winner and morning-line favorite, dueled with Classic Empire in the early stages, but tired midway around the final turn and finished in eighth, more than 13 lengths behind the winner. It was his first loss in five starts this year.
Lookin At Lee, the runner-up at Churchill Downs two week six ago, was fourth ahead of Gunnevera, Multiplier and Conquest Mo Money. Hence was ninth with Term of Art pulling up the rear.
Cloud Computing ran 1 3/16 miles in 1:55.98 and paid $28.80, $8.60 and $6. He was making his first start since finishing third to Irish War Cry and Battalion Runner in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on 8 April.
He was one of five in the 10-horse field that didnt run in the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago, a tactical decision by Brown and co-owners Seth Klarman and William Lawrence that paid off nicely as Cloud Computing made up a three-length deficit down the homestretch on a cool and overcast Saturday afternoon in Baltimore.
Certainly Im not going to dispute the fact that I brought in a fresh horse as part of our strategy, said Brown, last years Eclipse Award-winning trainer, who scored his first ever win in a Triple Crown race. 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 lets take them on two weeks rest when we have six (weeks), and it worked.
Afterward, the 38-year-old was non-committal on whether Cloud Computing would run the Belmont Stakes in three weeks time.
We dont really know, Brown said. Were going to take it race by race with this horse. Were going to see.
Do I think hes a mile-and-a-half horse? Hes never really struck me that way, but Im not going to rule it out. Lets see how he comes out of it and who is running and get a feel for it. Ill leave it as a possibility right now.
It marked the second victory at Preakness for Castellano, the sports most dominant jockey over the last four years, after his 2006 win aborad Bernardini.