Preakness champ Cloud Computing might not run in Belmont

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.

The Triple Crown dream has died for Kentucky Derby victor Always Dreaming, who came up short in the second leg at the Preakness Stakes on Saturday. He won his first Preakness with his first entrant in the race.

At this point we need to explain The Reg's sudden interest in horseflesh: it's because we can't make stuff like this up.

Classic Empire and Kentucky Derby champion Always Dreaming battled for the lead, while Cloud Computing stalked the pair before finding another gear deep in the stretch to overtake Classic Empire at the wire by a head.

The victor was not controversial, and while Leparoux should have to explain to trainer Mark Casse exactly why he moved Classic Empire so soon, there were no excuses. He was clearly gaining on Classic Empire and it was just a matter of whether he would reach him before he reached the finish line. Lapped onto the favored Kentucky Derby victor furlong after tantalizing furlong, last year's champion had his foe right where he wanted him. The fractions for the race were 23 seconds at the quarter-mile mark, 46.4 at the half-mile, 1:11 at the three-quarter mile and 1:36.3 at the mile mark. Velazquez is 0 for 7, with his best finish being second in 2011 aboard Kentucky Derby victor Animal Kingdom. The crowd of 140,327 and wagering total of $94,127,434 were records, bettering the marks set past year.

But Cloud Computing, trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Javier Castellano, chased him down and captured the 1 3/16ths of a mile United States flat racing classic by a head in 1:55.98. Cloud Computing, for example, is sired by the relatively new stallion Maclean's Music, and the owners paid just $200,000 for the colt, who has now earned over $1 million. Senior Investment, a 31-1 shot, got through on the inside and edged Lookin At Lee by a half-length for third.

Castellano was thrilled to ride his second Preakness victor, his first in 11 years. Career-wise, he specializes in "patient long-term investments on behalf of our clients", he said, while of horse racing, he said, "This is gambling". "It's great for the family".

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. That was additionally the year that Barbaro broke down after leaving the starting gate.

Classic Empire Just Misses Interestingly, Classic Empire Jockey Julien Leparoux said that Always Dreaming's dramatic fade may have hurt his own horse's chances.

Meanwhile, Cloud Computing was back in 3rd as Castellano watched the race unfold in front of him.

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.

Trainer Chad Brown won his first Preakness in great style as Todd Pletcher's Always Dreaming faded to an eighth-place finish (unofficial).

"I didn't think there was much speed in the race other than Riker", said the veteran rider. "He ran so hard in the Derby and today just wasn't his day", said Pletcher.

Always Dreaming has run away from the competition in four consecutive victories this year, winning by a combined 23 ¼ lengths.

If the Derby and Preakness winners skip the Belmont on June 10, the likely favorite would be Classic Empire, who was runner-up Saturday after finishing fourth in the Derby.

"Certainly, I'm not going to dispute the face that I brought in a fresh horse as part of our strategy", Brown said. "It is spectacular and we feel very fortunate to have horses there".

Always Dreaming trained well into the Preakness, but the combination of coming back on short rest, coupled with pace pressure from a top-class rival in Classic Empire, seemed too much for him to overcome. Cloud Computing paid $28.80 for a $2 bet after completing the mile and three-sixteenths at Pimlico Race Course in 1:55.98. He came into the Preakness after a six-week break."It just didn't work out in the Wood". We analyzed the race and handicapped the race together, we had a lot of thoughts and put them together and I think that is the most important thing in a relationship. We grew up in racing.

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