Cloud Computing came into the Preakness as one of the eight other runners in a race that was supposed to belong to Kentucky Derby champion Always Dreaming and highly rated Classic Empire.
While the two betting favorites engaged in a duel for the top spot as they reached the turn for home, Cloud Computing was not about to give up.
Jockey Javier Castellano knew he had plenty of horse under him, and he took off after Classic Empire once that horse got past the tiring Always Dreaming.
In the early phase of the home stretch, it was clear that Cloud Computing had a ton of work to do. Classic Empire was well ahead and had put away his top rival. It seemed that trainer Mark Casse and trainer Julien Leparoux would be celebrating the second jewel of the Triple Crown when Classic Empire hit the wire.
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But Castellano piloted his horse expertly, and trainer Chad Brown had him ready for the run of a lifetime. Cloud Computing dug in and ran Classic Empire down, passing him in the final two strides to win the Preakness.
Brown had rested Cloud Computing and did not let him run in the 20-horse Kentucky Derby field. He thought his horse had a chance if Always Dreaming and Classic Empire pushed each other hard in the first part of the race.
"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."
Cloud Computing took advantage by conserving his energy and coming through when it mattered most. His winning time of 1:55.98 paid $28.80 for a $2 bet.
Preakness Stakes order of finish:
1) Cloud Computing
2) Classic Empire
3) Senior Investment
4) Lookin At Lee
7) Conquest Mo Money
8) Always Dreaming
10) Term of Art
Classic Empire finished second, while long-shot Senior Investment took third place.
Lookin At Lee, who had finished second in the Kentucky Derby, ran fourth in the Preakness, while Gunnevera slugged it out and finished fifth.
Always Dreaming faded badly down the stretch in the 1 3/16-mile race and ended up in eighth. Jockey John Velazquez said his horse did not have the same energy that allowed him to win the Kentucky Derby.
"I was in trouble on the back stretch when the other horse got him," Velazquez said. "He just didn't have it."
The dream of another Triple Crown winner has again gone by the wayside, and there are no assurances that Always Dreaming or Cloud Computing will go to New York to compete in the Belmont Stakes June 10.
However, Classic Empire should be there, and this race will give him the opportunity to come away with the third Triple Crown jewel in the 1 1/2-mile endurance test.