Cloud Computing fends off Classic Empire at Preakness

13-1 shot Cloud Computing springs upset in Preakness

13-1 shot Cloud Computing springs upset in Preakness

Cloud Computing pulled off a major surprise in the Preakness Stakes in Maryland on Saturday, charging down the stretch to overtake Classic Empire and win the second race of USA thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown.

Brown made no bones about their strategy to give Cloud Computing six weeks of rest before taking on Derby victor Always Dreaming and second favorite at Preakness post time, Classic Empire.

Classic Empire dueled with Kentucky Derby victor Always Dreaming throughout most of the race before taking the lead turning for home.

Cloud Computing, left, ridden by Javier Castellano, second from left, wins142nd Preakness Stakes horse race at Pimlico race course as Classic Empire (5) with Julien Leparoux aboard takes second, Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Baltimore.

Though eligible to run the Kentucky Derby, Cloud Computing trainer Chad Brown opted to skip that race and give the horse a six-week rest.

Cloud Computing, who finished third in the Grade II Wood Memorial, won for the second time in just four career starts.

Among other horses likely for the 1 1/2-mile Belmont - the longest of the Triple Crown races - are: Senior Investment (third in Preakness), Lookin At Lee (fourth in Preakness) and Japanese invader Epicharis.

Trainer Todd Pletcher said he's not sure what's next for Kentucky Derby champion Always Dreaming, who boarded a van to return to NY on Sunday morning.

Castellano asked Cloud Computing to go and he responded, rallying through the stretch and catching Classic Empire at the wire. He ran so hard in the Derby and today just wasn't his day.

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Brown was non-committal about the likelihood of Cloud Computing's turning out again for next month's Belmont Stakes. Classic Empire, under rider Julien Leparoux, has always hinted of sneaky speed. And that's big. Once he got a spot early, we figured the race can be won or lost in that first turn. "We made a great call". He then noted that the Preakness had eluded Frankel, the victor of the 2003 Belmont Stakes and four Breeders' Cup races, and said, "I feel this is for him, at least from my viewpoint. That horse had some momentum on him; he ran a great race, too".

At that point, trainer Mark Casse thought he was headed there, too. Pre-race favorite Always Dreaming finished eighth after having led early.

Brown returned to NY late Saturday night because he had a full slate of horses to work Sunday morning at Belmont Park. We grew up in racing.

However it did not transpire that way as Always Dreaming faltered as they entered the stretch, after which Classic Empire looked sure to win the race as he moved into a clear lead. "We were in a position we expected to be, and I think the turnaround was a little too quick".

Cloud Computing returned $28.80 for a $2 win wager. Always Dreaming was only the ninth horse Pletcher had ever raced in the Preakness, and only the second in the past five years.

"I'm not going to dispute the fact that I brought out a fresh horse as a part of our strategy", Brown told NBC. "I said, 'Let's go and try to win this thing.' It ended up getting us in the end".

Brown said of his excellent working relationship with Castellano, "When I relay information about a horse or a plan, he knows just what I'm talking about and he can get it done".

"I know I'm young, but you have to have an incredible team of people that share a common goal", Brown said. Classic Empire held on for second. "We're just going to evaluate the horse this week and probably by next weekend we may have a decision". "He said in spite of that, when he was reaching down to grab his stirrup the horse was taking him to where he wanted to be", he said.

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