The 2017 Jim Dandy was sold to fans as a showdown between Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and Preakness Stakes winner Cloud Computing. For the first part of the exciting race, that’s how the whole thing played out with those two champions taking the field out early. What unfolded at Saratoga was completely unexpected.
Always Dreaming went out as the even money favorite and held the early lead, hitting and early quarter-mile fraction of :24.13. Cloud Computing was right on his tail in both the early stages of the 2017 Jim Dandy and the betting board as the 6/5 second choice. Right behind those two was Pavel, an 8/1 outside shot, and Giuseppe The Great who was a distant 14/1 on the board. Way in the back was Good Samaritan, another contender with an 8/1 mark, who seemed to be way outclassed early on.
Suddenly, as they rounded the final corner, the whole field bunched together and Good Samaritan hit a gear nobody knew he had to stream around the outside. The performance seemed to shrink Cloud Computing and Always Dreaming, who fell back right next to Pavel and Giuseppe The Great as the final four ended in a bunch. Good Samaritan won handedly in an absolute shocker.
The 2017 Jim Dandy Stakes was the first appearence on dirt for Good Samaritan, who had previously been tested as a turf runner with unfavorably inconsistent results. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the way he ran,” said trainer Bill Mott. “It was a terrific race for him. The pace was a little bit slower than I thought it would be. I was a little concerned when they were going down the middle of the backside and they hung up the slow fractions. I was a little concerned about that. They did start to pick it up leaving the half-mile pole. He ran into a very slow pace and ran well.”
This victory has now thrust Good Samaritan in to the thick of a very competitive three-year-old class that now includes 2017 Haskell winner Girvin, the three Triple Crown victors and a host of other colts entering the fray on route to the world championships. What Good Samaritan does with this new found momentum will be noted – hopefully – in the upcoming Travers Stakes which will have a stacked field.
Pimlico Sets Attendance and Handle Records for Preakness Stakes
Cloud Computing closed in the deep stretch to win the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes (G1) on a record day at Pimlico Race Course. And a track-record 140,327 witness the exciting finish. The Maryland Jockey Club announced that Saturday’s Preakness Stakes card broke all handle and attendance records at Pimlico.
Total handle on Pimlico’s 14-race program was $97,168,658, an increase of three percent over the previous record of $94,127,434 and a 14-percent increase over 2015 wagering. The attendance of 140,327 broke last year’s record of 135,256.
The Maryland Jockey Club also announced that in-state handle was up 7.1 percent from last year and 10.4 percent from 2015.
“From morning into evening, we witnessed an incredible day of world-class racing and eclectic entertainment,” said Sal Sinatra, President of the Maryland Jockey Club. “The sport of Thoroughbred racing is being rejuvenated and reimagined by the Stronach family. Their commitment to this sport is remarkable and unparalleled. Their vision is being embraced by horsemen and fans around the country.”
Betting on the Preakness this year was $60.2 million when counting all wagers that ended in the race, down 1.7 percent from the record of $61.3 million set last year. This year’s Preakness had 10 horses, while last year’s race had 11 horses.
Overnight television ratings for the race portion of the Preakness broadcast on NBC peaked at 6.2 with a 14 share, identical to the overnight figures for the race portion of the broadcast last year. NBC said the broadcast was the highest-rated sports broadcast of the weekend.
Sinatra added. “We want to thank the fans who came to Pimlico Saturday as well as the horsemen who supported our program this weekend. And, of course, the incredible equine athletes for their spirit and beauty.”
The day after winning the Preakness Stakes (G1) in an upset, Cloud Computing was set to leave Baltimore and the Pimlico Race Course and return to his Belmont Park home. Trainer Chad Brown left the night before, but before leaving his discussed the possibility of Cloud Computing running in the Belmont Stakes (G1), the third and final leg of the Triple Crown.
“We haven’t ruled it [Belmont Stakes] out,” said Brown. “We’re just going to evaluate the horse this week and probably by next weekend we may have a decision.”
As for Belmont Stakes runner-up, Classic Empire, his trainer Mark Casse said running in the Belmont Stakes is a possibility.
“Right now I’d say there’s a very good shot he’s going to run in the Belmont,” said Casse. “But we won’t make that (decision yet). We’ll see how he acts and does everything.”
If Classic Empire does run in the Belmont Stakes, Casse mentioned an equipment change could be in order, saying the removal of blinkers could keep his charge engaged. Casse believes Classic Empire, who was leading after the final turn, might have been caught off guard by Cloud Computing’s late surge.
“If I could do it all over again, the only thing I would do differently is I would take the blinkers off him. 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.”
The dream of a Triple Crown winner is over for this year. Cloud Computing stormed the backstretch of the 2017 Preakness Stakes to beat Classic Empire in a staggering upset. The 12/1 underdog bested the 2/1 second choice to finish with a time of 1:55.98, which happens to be the fastest time in five years.
Always Dreaming took the field out with a fantastic break from the gate, and dragged Classic Empire with him in to the first corner. Cloud Computing sat in third with 45/1 longshot Term of Art trailing in fourth. Nothing changed as Always Dreaming, a 6/5 favorite, ran out in front with Classic Empire shadowing him on the outside. The top-four remain unchanged for almost the entire race.
Everything changed drastically in the 2017 Preakness at the top of the final turn when Always Dreaming faded out of nowhere. He’d eventually finish eighth, but leave the door wide open for a surging Classic Empire who looked to have regained his championship form. The 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner was well on pace, but Cloud Computing came on strong and managed to outwork his opponent to win by a neck.
At 12/1, Cloud Computing was worth a strong $28.80, $8.60 and $6.00 across the board. 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.
Trianer Chad Brown admitted that running Cloud Computing on a lengthy rest in the 2017 Preakness after he skipped the Kentucky Derby was part of the long-term strategy, despite the fact that this may upset racing fans. “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.”
As for Always Dreaming, it simply wasn’t his day. The three weeks he has to regroup for the Belmont Stakes may very well give him the recovery he needs to be a winner. But we’ll see. The 2017 Preakness may be a tad disappointing, but the Belmont could very well be a revenge song for Always Dreaming. It’s also apparent that Chad Brown thinks that the 1 1/2 mile distance would be too much for Cloud Computing. So there’s that.
No, “instant action” is not the name of one of the contenders from the 2017 Preakness Stakes draw. Instead it’s what can best describe the drama that will occur in the gates when Always Dreaming shacks up right next to Classic Empire to begin the race. They’re also – not surprisingly – the top two choices of the oddsmakers.
Always Dreaming will be the 4/5 favorite, a number that was delivered to him on Tuesday evening and didn’t change thanks to a favorable 2017 Preakness Stakes draw. Likewise, Classic Empire slotted in as the 3/1 second choice earlier this week and stayed that way after the posts were announced.
Lookin At Lee is probably the biggest benefactor of the 2017 Preakness Stakes draw after pulling the ninth gate. He will run as a strong 10/1 option on the board and try to prove that his runner-up finish in the Kentucky Derby was no fluke.
Flanking him will be Conquest Mo Money, a new shooter to the Triple Crown who will start on the outside as a 15/1 outside shot.
The most curious decision was to make Cloud Computing a 12/1 third choice. I expect that to change. He finished third in the Wood Memorial and second in the Gotham but hasn’t run all that well. He’s getting even better odds than Gunnevera, who is a 15/1 longshot out of the sixth post.
The rest of the longshots include Multiplier, Hence, Term of Art and Senior Investment.
Pedigree: Maclean’s Music – Quick Temper, by A.P. Indy
Recent Finish: 3rd Wood Memorial, G2 (4/8/17)
Notable Wins: None
Cloud Computing is a lightly raced horse who won his maiden at Aqueduct as a 3-year-old Feb. 11, 2017. He’s since run in a pair of stakes races finishing 2nd in the Gotham (G3) and 3rd in the Wood Memorial (G2). But his final 3/8 mile time in the Wood was a very slow :39.82 seconds, but he did make up some ground on a track that favored speed.
CloudComputing has put on some weight since that race and his trainer Chad Brown says his talented colt will be fresher. CloudComputing should be stalking or near mid-pack in the Preakness, but he’ll need to take another step forward with a stronger showing to contend.
Since the Wood Memorial, Cloud Computing has come back with three solid works including a pair of 5 furlong bullets in 1:00.20 at Belmont. He shipped to Pimlico yesterday, so follow his progress and adjustment on the track.
Javier Castellano takes the mount on Cloud Computing in the Preakness for major client and trainer Chad Brown after riding Gunnevera in the Kentucky Derby. Chad Brown, last year’s Eclipse Award-winning trainer, will be looking for his first victory in a Triple Crown race on Saturday with CloudComputing his first-ever Preakness entrant.