Classic Empire Career Statistics
Places: 0 `
Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings: $2,153,820
Owner: John Oxley
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Julien Leparoux
Pedigree: Pioneer of the Nile – Sambuca Classica, by Cat Thief
Recent Finish: 4th Kentucky Derby, G1 (5/6/17)
Notable Wins: Arkansas Derby, G1 (4/14/17) and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, G1 (11/5/16)
Classic Empire was the morning line favorite in the Kentucky Derby and finished 4th. A troubled trip on a sloppy track saw him sideswiped and hammered off stride between rivals early, regrouped to pick up steam and went five wide on the far turn. He was interrupted in the stretch being bumped and carried out before churning on to the finish.
According to Trakus, Classic Empire traveled 75 more feet than Derby winner Always Dreaming. Trainer Mark Casse is eager to get his juvenile champ ready for a rematch with the Derby champ and show how tough and special Classic Empire is. A victory in the $1.5 million Preakness would make Classic Empire only the 8th juvenile male champion to capture the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown since the Eclipse Awards were created in 1971. It would also boost his career earning to over $3 million should he capture the $900,000 first place prize.
Classic Empire will be the second-favorite in the Preakness and is the biggest threat to derail the Derby champ. With the race a football field shorter than the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness requires the horses to get in a better position they like a little earlier. Jockey Julien Leparoux will get a better break from the gate and have Classic Empire stalking behind Always Dreaming with the best fighting chance to get first run at the leaders and Derby champ when they make the run down the stretch.