Preakness champ Cloud Computing might not run in Belmont

By the time they passed Pletcher and much of the crowd of 140,327 the first time, Pletcher thought Always Dreaming seemed to be "dragging" jockey John Velazquez and seemed to be on a "loose rein". The colt responded with an eighth-place finish - the worst of his career - on Saturday. "I didn't have it".

That's where Classic Empire pulled away from Always Dreaming. The two bolted out of the gates and ran neck-and-neck for most of the race.

Cloud Computing secured sufficient qualifying points for the May 6 GI Kentucky Derby, but his connections elected to bypass the race and point the lightly raced colt towards the Preakness. When he launched a drive on the outside in the stretch, Always Dreaming was already in command.

The 38-year old from Mechanicville has always been labeled a "turf horse trainer", but by winning the 142nd Preakness Stakes, Brown has proven he belongs in the company of Todd Pletcher, Bob Baffert and the like. He started out as a teenager, handicapping.

The Preakness was raced at 1 3/16 miles over a fast strip at the Maryland track.

Most watching couldn't have imagined it either.

This year, the connections of graded stakes-placed Cloud Computing successfully shook the virus symptoms that affect so many and skipped the Run for the Roses despite having earned enough points in favor of the Preakness Stakes (GI), giving more time between races to the lightly raced colt and avoiding the pitfalls that sometimes come with the bumper vehicle affair the Kentucky Derby sometimes becomes. Castellano had never even ridden the horse before Saturday.

"You have to have an incredible team of people that share a common goal", Brown said. "I spend a lot of time with Chad and at the farms in Lexington". "We made a great call". "I think we have the best two horses, let's go at it", said Casse. Classic Empire was a very unlucky second.

Always Dreaming trainer Todd Pletcher remains winless at the Preakness Stakes. "The only thing is, Always Dreaming backed out of the race early, so I got to the lead early, maybe too early".

"We figured the race would be won or lost in that first turn", Brown said, per Joe Drape of the New York Times, "and he won it right there". Castellano also won on Bernardini in 2006. He said wearing blinkers might have prevented Classic Empire from realizing Cloud Computing was there until it was too late. The trainer of Always Dreaming, Todd Pletcher, anxious whether his colt could win on just two weeks' rest.

Nearly immediately after the Derby, Pletcher spoke about how impressively his horse rebounded from the hard race.

He was anxious, he said, but not driven by his highly publicized winless record at the Preakness Stakes.

"Certainly I'm not going to dispute the fact that I brought in a fresh horse as part of our strategy", said Brown, last year's Eclipse Award-winning trainer, who scored his first ever win in a Triple Crown race.

Ultimately, what could have been was bigger than what was. Lookin At Lee, runner-up in the Kentucky Derby, was to van to Asmussen's Belmont Park barn Sunday to prepare for the final leg of the Triple Crown. NYRA did so hoping that Japanese officials would take simulcast wagering on the third jewel of the Triple Crown.

Always Dreaming stopped so suddenly, there will be those that say the only reason Always he won the Derby was because he had a dream trip along the Churchill Downs assembly-line rail that allowed numerous winners on the day prior to and on Derby Day to hang on longer than they should have.

"My father was a jockey for 25 years, my uncle, my brother. we grew up all racing, it's very special for us", he said.

  • Julie Sanders