Freshness is Cloud Computing's key to success
13-1 outsider skips Kentucky Derby and edges out 2-1 favourite Classic Empire in Preakness Stakes
CLOUD COMPUTING charged from behind on the backstretch yesterday morning (Singapore time) to edge Classic Empire and win the 142nd Preakness Stakes, spoiling the Triple Crown hopes of Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming.
Oddsmakers' favourites Always Dreaming and Classic Empire were side-by-side out of the gates at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, Maryland, and battled for the lead through the final turn, where Always Dreaming faded and Classic Empire surged more than two lengths ahead.
But Cloud Computing, trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Javier Castellano, chased him down and captured the 1,900m US flat racing classic by a head in 1min 55.98sec.
"It's a dream come true, the culmination of a lot of hard work and sacrifices," said Brown.
Classic Empire, the Derby favourite who settled for fourth in muddy conditions two weeks ago at Churchill Downs, settled for second in perfect weather, with 30-1 longshot Senior Investment third, four-and-a-half lengths away.
Always Dreaming finished eighth in the 10-horse field, 13½ lengths adrift, to end his bid at capturing the US equine thoroughbred Triple Crown by sweeping the Derby, Preakness and next month's Belmont Stakes.
Cloud Computing, who went off at 13-1 odds compared to 2-1 for Classic Empire, was only the second horse in modern Preakness history to win with three or fewer prior starts. He was just the fourth in 34 years to win the Preakness after not racing in the Kentucky Derby, a move by design to boost the colt's chances in the shorter Preakness.
"Running a fresh horse was part of our strategy," said Brown.
"Our strategy was to let them come out with two weeks' rest and we have six and it worked."
Castellano was thrilled to ride his second Preakness winner, his first in 11 years.
"I'm very excited. He gave me a great run," said the veteran jockey.
"We've been working a long time for this moment. It's special. Chad gave me a lot of support. I'm so happy."
Brown, 38, said Castellano followed the plan to perfection, staying behind Always Dreaming before making the late charge.
"He rode an excellent race," said Brown.
"Everything lined up."
As for running Cloud Computing at the Belmonth Stakes in three weeks, Brown was non-committal, saying, "We're going to talk about it and what happened here. It's possible." - AFP