Hard-charging Cloud Computing won Saturday’s Preakness Stakes, narrowly edging out Classic Empire by a nose.
Kentucky Derby winner and race favorite Always Dreaming faded down the stretch after dueling Classic Empire for much of the race.
Cloud Computing, a 13-to-1 shot, did not run in the Kentucky Derby, the first jewel of the Triple Crown. Ridden by Javier Castellano, Cloud Computing ran the 1 3/16 miles in 1:55.98 and paid $28.80 to win in front of a record crowd of 140,327. It was just the dark brown colt’s second career victory.
Senior Investment, a 30-1 shot, finished third. Lookin At Lee was fourth. Always Dreaming finished eighth.
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Cloud Computing’s trainer, Chad Brown, earned his first victory in a Triple Crown race. Castellano won for the second time. He rode Bernardini to victory in the 2006 Preakness.
“Certainly I’m not going to dispute the fact that I brought in a fresh horse as part of our strategy,” Brown said. “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 let’s take them on two weeks’ rest when we have six (weeks), and it worked.”
Always Dreaming led much of the way Saturday, but gave way to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champion Classic Empire. Cloud Computing, third for much of the race, tracked Classic Empire down at the wire.
“We didn’t have an excuse,” said Todd Pletcher, who trains Always Dreaming. “We were in a position we expected to be, and I think the turnaround was a little too quick. He ran so hard in the Derby and today just wasn’t his day.”
Always Dreaming was a victory away from setting up a bid for the Triple Crown. Two years ago, American Pharoah became the first horse to sweep the Derby, Preakness and Belmont in 37 years. Always Dreaming had ran away from the competition in four consecutive victories this year, winning by a combined 23 1/4 lengths. The dark bay colt was never challenged in winning the Kentucky Derby by 2 3/4 lengths on a sloppy track at Churchill Downs.
This year’s Belmont Stakes is scheduled for 6:50 p.m. Saturday, June 10, at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
Always Dreaming broke from the No. 4 post in the Preakness, a spot that has produced 13 winners but none since Curlin in 2007.
Neither John Velazquez, Always Dreaming’s jockey, nor Pletcher have won the Preakness. Velazquez is 0-for-8, with his best finish being second in 2011 aboard Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom. Pletcher is 0-for-9, with his highest finish coming in 2000 when Impeachment was third.
Dixie: World Approval has won the $250,000 Dixie, the oldest stakes race held at Pimlico Race Course.
The 5-year-old gray beat Projected by 2 1/4 lengths, improving his record to eight wins in 20 starts. The victory pushed his career earnings over $1.1 million.
World Approval paid $7 to win. He ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.15 on the turf.
The winning Dixie team of trainer Mark Casse and jockey Julien Leparoux teamed up in the Preakness with Classic Empire.
Sir Barton Stakes: No Mo Dough survived a lengthy stewards’ inquiry to win the $100,000 Sir Barton Stakes for 3-year-olds at Pimlico.
Angled extremely wide by jockey Jose Ortiz turning for home, No Mo Dough cut sharply to the inside while launching his rally. The stewards ruled that no other runners were impeded by the move, and let the result stand.
No Mo Dough rolled to a 2 3/4-length victory over Time to Travel. He paid $20 to win for the 9-1 upset.
It was the third win in four races for the colt making his stakes debut and it gave trainer Graham Motion his second win of the day.
Maryland Sprint Stakes: Whitmore has found a home in sprint races.
A Triple Crown contender last year who finished 19th in the Kentucky Derby, Whitmore is 5-for-5 since shortening up to 6 furlongs.
He surged in the final strides to beat A.P. Indian by a half-length in the $150,000 Maryland Sprint Stakes at Pimlico.
Trained by Ron Moquett, the 4-year-old gelding was ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr. He covered the distance in 1:09.90 and paid $4.40 to win as the 6-5 favorite.
Gallorette Stakes: In the $150,000 Gallorette Stakes for fillies and mares, Cambodia earned her first stakes victory.
The 5-year-old ridden by Florent Geroux patiently stalked the pace set by 66-1 longshot Come to Mischief. Cambodia sprinted away from that tiring rival in the lane, powering to a two-length win over On Leave in the turf race.
Trained by Tom Proctor, Cambodia got her fourth win in 10 starts. She paid $11.20 to win.
Chick Lang Stakes: Recruiting Ready has extended his winning streak to three in a row with a 3 3/4-length victory in the $200,000 Chick Lang Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters.
It was also the third win on Saturday for jockey Horacio Karamanos.
Recruiting Ready improved his overall record to 4-for-9 for trainer Horacio DePaz. The colt paid $7.40 to win after running 6 furlongs in 1:10.35.
Aquamarine, trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, rallied up the rail to get second.
Yoshida added some international flair to the Preakness day undercard with a four-length victory in the $100,000 James W. Murphy Stakes for 3-year-olds on the turf.
The Japan-bred colt got his second win in three starts, all in the U.S., for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.
Ridden by Joel Rosario, Yoshida paid $7.60 to win. He ran a mile in 1:36.83.
Very One: Everything Lovely kicked off the Preakness Stakes undercard with a front-running victory in the $100,000 Very One for filly and mare turf sprinters.
The 5-year-old trained by Kate Demasi grabbed hold of the softened course rated good Saturday following heavy rain a day earlier. It was her sixth win in 20 starts, and a sharp rebound from last year when she finished 11th in this race.
Javier Castellano was aboard for the 5 furlongs in 57.93 seconds. Everything Lovely held off Sunnysammi by a length and paid $7.80 to win.
6:50 p.m. Saturday, June 10, at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. (NBC-18)