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.
That was after the Chad Brown trained Cloud Computing scored a thrilling win in Saturday’s Gr1 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore.
For 37 years, from Affirmed’s 1978 Triple Crown sweep to American Pharoah’s in 2015, no horse could grab the sport’s greatest prize, although 13 went to the Belmont with a chance.
Javier Castellano was aboard Cloud Computing for the first time on Saturday, a switch dictated by Brown, who wanted his go-to rider to get the colt into the race from the start and keep him there.
It worked. Cloud Computing broke sharply and loomed behind Always Dreaming and Classic Empire for most of the race.
“We figured the race would be won or lost in that first turn,” Brown said, “and he won it right there.”
For the last 50 yards, Cloud Computing and Classic Empire shadowed each other, running nose to nose almost until they hit the wire. In the end, Cloud Computing won the only duel that mattered — the 142nd Preakness Stakes.
Cloud Computing covered the 1900m in 1 minute 55.98 seconds. He earned a $900,000 first-place cheque that was welcomed by his co-owners William Lawrence and Seth Klarman.
The victory carried special weight for Klarman, who turned 60 on Sunday and fell in love with horses while growing up three blocks from this battered old racetrack.
Always Dreaming, the prohibitive 6-5 favourite, finished a well-beaten eighth. In Kentucky, he had a perfect, front-running trip on a rain-soaked course that bedeviled many of his rivals — Classic Empire in particular. It was not so easy here.
For Brown, Cloud Computing’s victory was a rebuttal to those who believed that as accomplished as he was as a trainer of turf horses, he still had not figured out how to win where America’s most prestigious races are run: on the dirt.
“Best dirt trainer in the country,” Lawrence, the co-owner, whispered to Brown in the winner’s circle.
On Saturday at least, he was.
The Brown-Castellano partnership has dominated grass in New York and beyond.
Brown has won nearly every major turf race in America, including seven Breeders’ Cup races on grass and the Arlington Million, and has trained three Eclipse-Award-winning turf horses.
Cloud Computing is a son of Distorted Humor stallion, Maclean’s Music and is out of the A.P.Indy mare, Quick Temper.
Excerpt – www.nytimes.com