Trainer Chad Brown and his crew welcomed Cloud Computing back to Belmont Park Sunday morning, some 15 hours after the colt's dramatic victory in the 142nd Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course.
Cloud Computing, co-owned by Seth Klarman's Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence, edged Classic Empire by a head. Brown, 38, won the Preakness with his first starter and earned the first Triple Crown victory of his career.
“It has sunk in,” Brown said. “We're thrilled with the result. The horse looks well and our team here is just so happy with the race yesterday.”
Riding the colt for the first time, Javier Castellano sent Cloud Computing after Classic Empire at the top of the stretch, gradually sliced into the three-length lead, caught him near the wire and won by a head before a record crowd of 140,327. He paid $28.80.
“We got a beautiful, beautiful trip in the Preakness and the horse really responded,” Brown said.
The Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 10 remains a possibility for Cloud Computing, who did not race as a 2-year-old.
“We haven't ruled it out,” Brown said. “We're just going to evaluate the horse this week and probably by next weekend we may have a decision.”
Although Cloud Computing had enough qualifying points to run in the May 6 Kentucky Derby (G1), Brown and the owners decided to skip the race with the lightly raced son of Maclean's Music and focus on the Preakness. Brown said the colt flourished given two more weeks of training after his third-place finish in the Wood Memorial (G2) on April 8.
“We were confident in the horse,” Brown said.
As he did in the post-race press conference, Brown described the Preakness win as a team effort.
“It's really gratifying, for all the hard work everyone puts in here at the barn and to be able to do it for clients like Seth Klarman and Bill Lawrence, who are so loyal, so supportive and so patient,” Brown said. “To be able to reward them for their confidence in us is probably the most gratifying thing about the whole experience for me personally. 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 to be able to give back to them, especially to Seth, who is from Baltimore. Everything aligned perfectly yesterday.”
Brown did add that Tesio winner Twisted Tom could be considered for the Belmont, but would need to be supplemented to the race for $75,000.
Preakness runner-up Classic Empire was in fine spirits after the gut-wrenching loss, and trainer Mark Casse is seriously considering the Belmont Stakes for his juvenile champion. Casse may even change up the Pioneerof the Nile colt's equipment, removing his blinkers, he told bloodhorse.com.
“I'm not so sure how much he saw that horse coming,” said Casse. “He dug back in, but the other horse had some momentum on him, and if you watch him going on out, he took off again.”
Trainer Ken McPeek said third-place finisher Senior Investment will definitely point for the Belmont, as did Steve Asmussen with fourth-place finisher Lookin at Lee. Conquest Mo Money and Multiplier are also under consideration.
Gunnevera bled for the first time in his career, said trainer Antonio Sano, and is off the Triple Crown trail. He will return to Florida for a break before resuming training.
Eighth-place finisher Always Dreaming was “healthy and happy” Sunday morning, with trainer Todd Pletcher at a bit of a loss to explain the Kentucky Derby winner's performance.
“The surface—I hate to use that as an excuse, because he's run well over all kinds of different surfaces, (but) this one was a little bit different,” Pletcher said, “because it was in that drying-out phase. But it wasn't his day, I suppose.”
Always Dreaming will be re-evaluated before a decision is made about the Belmont Stakes.
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