The dream of another Triple Crown victor has again gone by the wayside, and there are no assurances that Always Dreaming or Cloud Computing will go to NY to compete in the Belmont Stakes June 10. With another three weeks until the Belmont in New York, Cloud Computing could return to run on his home track. He skipped the Kentucky Derby with Cloud Computing, even though the horse had enough qualifying points to make the field.
Castellano, who rode fifth-place finisher Gunnevera in the Kentucky Derby for trainer Antonio Sano, is the regular rider for Brown, so while it may seem unusual for a rider to change horses as Castellano did for the Preakness, it was not unexpected based on the long-standing relationship he has with Brown. Jockey John Velazquez said his horse did not have the same energy that allowed him to win the Kentucky Derby. "We made a great call".
In Kentucky, Always Dreaming had a flawless, front-running trip on a rain-soaked course that bedeviled many of his rivals, especially Classic Empire.
"We got the trip we wanted, outside Always Dreaming", Classic Empire jockey Julien Leparoux said. "He's never really struck me that way, but I'm not going to rule it out", he said. Pletcher still couldn't give a definitive reason why Always Dreaming faded so badly to finish a disappointing eighth. The record crowd of 140,327 roared at the anticipation of seeing a Preakness stretch duel reminiscent of Sunday Silence and Easy Goer in 1989.
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Classic Empire, Senior Investment and Lookin At Lee, who finished second, third and fourth, respectively, Saturday, are likely to run in the Belmont.
Cloud Computing's victory ensure that there will be no Triple Crown this year, rendering next month's Belmont Stakes a race that has lost its potentially historic dimensions. "Coming into the Preakness, I thought if something would happen with Always Dreaming that I had a legitimate chance to win". Castellano - the soon-to-be Hall of Fame inductee - won the 2006 Preakness Stakes aboard Bernardini. They do trust us with a lot of horses, a lot of money invested in our stable and a lot of time spent dealing with good news and bad news. "It's great for the family". In Baltimore the path was clearer and Classic Empire delivered. He began urging Classic Empire on through the stretch with wide arm motions and a few leaps interspersed.
But Cloud Computing triumphed in the end, earning about US$800,000 for its owners in so doing.
Always Dreaming was the first to throw in the towel, surrendering the lead to Classic Empire midway around the final turn.
Always Dreaming's trainer Todd Pletcher had come into the race with no Preakness winners from eight previous starters. "I think he just turned around and was a little too quick". "He ran so hard in the Derby and today just wasn't his day", said Pletcher. Watching the race today from Always Dreaming, I was surprised. He'd won his first four by a combined 23 1/4 lengths. Classic Empire was well ahead and had put away his top rival. To his outside sat Classic Empire for a first half-mile that was quick but not insane at:46.81 seconds and a reasonable three-quarters in 1:11.00.
"Certainly, I won't dispute the fact that we brought in a fresh horse as part of our strategy", Brown said. "I think possibly some of the reason that we won was because we were patient and didn't throw an inexperienced horse against a 20-horse field in the Derby on a very hard track".
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Always Dreaming and Classic Empire broke well from the gate and galloped to the lead with Always Dreaming along the rail and Classic Empire on his shoulder.
As the Derby champ, Always Dreaming will have a bulls-eye on his back in a smaller field going a shorter distance than two weeks ago.
"The six weeks (break between the Wood and Preakness) was huge", the agent said. "We just really zeroed in on this race, and thankfully it worked out".
Brown returned to NY late Saturday night because he had a full slate of horses to work Sunday morning at Belmont Park. "I'm happy for him and the horse". Lawrence, who went to Shaker High in suburban Albany, is the CEO of Meridian Capital Partners, a prominent hedge fund. Klarman, 59, is known as a value investing legend and manages $30 billion in assets.
Trainer Steve Asmussen said Lookin At Lee, second in the Derby and fourth in the Preakness, will head to NY on Sunday morning to prepare for the Belmont.
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