Always Dreaming suffered a nightmare at the 2017 Preakness Stakes. After front running the entire race ahead of Classic Empire, the Kentucky Derby winner fell well off the pace to finish eighth. Instead it was 12/1 longshot Cloud Computing who stole the show by upsetting two established champions.
The top four for the entire race was Always Dreaming, Classic Empire, Cloud Computing and Term of Art but everything changed at the top of the final turn. Always Dreaming seemed to succumb to the stress and fatigue of rigorous competition, while Classic Empire surged in to the lead. With a strong lead, Classic Empire seemed well on his way to re-establishing himself as a true contender.
But Cloud Computing had different intentions in mind. The Chad Brown trainee went buckwild down the stretch to not only catch Classic Empire in the final moments, but stretch out to beat him by a neck. It was a wildly unexpected finish, especially considering how Cloud Computing had fared in prep races leading up to the Triple Crown circuit.
Cloud Computing finished second in the Gotham and third in the Wood Memorial, essentially throwing the scent of his tracks as a viable threat. Instead, Cloud Computing was worth a strong $28.80, $8.60 and $6.00 across the board at 12/1. Classic Empire delivered $4.40 and $4.00 in second while Senior Investment was a big payday for whomever backed him at 30/1 with a $10.20 payout.
Chad Brown openly admitted that running a new shooter in the second leg of the Triple Crown was part of his thinking. “I’m not going to dispute the fact that I brought in a fresh horse as part of our strategy,” Brown said. “Our horse is very talented, too. Classic Empire and Always Dreaming are two outstanding horses and our strategy was, if we were going to ever beat them, let’s take them on two weeks’ rest when we have six, and it worked.”
What might upset horse racing fans even more is that Brown remained non-committal to running Cloud Computing in the Belmont Stakes, stating that the 1 1/2 mile race would be too far for his colt. Always Dreaming and Classic Empire are still up in the air for the Belmont, but it would be a shame to see any of those three miss the final leg of the Triple Crown. It’s hard enough building excitement for the Belmont without a Triple Crown hopeful.