May 19, 2024

Cloud Computing breezes half-mile at Belmont for Preakness

Chad Brown (Coady Photography)

At his Belmont Park base on Saturday, Preakness (G1) contender Cloud Computing reeled off a half-mile in :48.85 on the training track.

Going out promptly once training hours began at 5:30 a.m. (EDT), the Chad Brown trainee didn’t dodge raindrops but he did have a fast surface. Daily Racing Form’s David Grening reported that he caught Cloud Computing in :48.56, with a five-furlong gallop-out in 1:01.69.

“He breezed very well, galloped out super and came back good so far,” Brown told the Preakness notes team. “That’s his last piece of work and if he comes out of it well he’ll be on to Baltimore on Tuesday.”

Second in the Gotham (G3) and third in the Wood Memorial (G2), Cloud Computing was well within the top 20 on the Kentucky Derby (G1) points list, but connections already had the more accomplished Practical Joke booked for Churchill Downs. Accordingly, fellow Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence colorbearer Cloud Computing was earmarked for Pimlico.

Saturday’s other Preakness work took place on the West Coast at Santa Anita, where Term of Art negotiated six furlongs in 1:13.80 for Doug O’Neill. According to DRF’s Jay Privman, the Calumet Farm runner will don blinkers in hopes of a form turnaround.

Since capturing the off-the-turf Cecil B. DeMille (G3) at Del Mar last November, Term of Art has finished fifth in the Sham (G3), fourth in the Bob Lewis (G3), third in the San Felipe (G2), and seventh in the Santa Anita Derby (G1).

Arkansas Derby (G1) runner-up Conquest Mo Money, currently based at Prairie Meadows, is scheduled to van into Pimlico on Sunday. The $8,500 bargain buy from the Conquest Stables dispersal sped a half in :48.40 Friday.

“In this particular instance, I had not planned on bidding on Mo Money,” Judge Lanier Racing’s Tom McKenna said of the auction experience. “I just thought that he would be totally out of my price range. Lo and behold, I got him.

“He fell through the cracks. It is a blessing from God, I guarantee you.

“It was unbelievable. Nonetheless, we got him and he hasn’t disappointed us. This horse has the best head of any colt that I have had in my life. He’s an amazing horse. My 14-year-old grandson could train that horse. That’s how easy he is. He’s just automatic. He’s just a dream, a dream.”

Back at Churchill, it was a routine morning for the Preakness posse, except for Fountain of Youth (G2) romper Gunnevera, the Derby’s seventh-placer, who boarded his van to make the trek to Pimlico (and arrived Saturday afternoon).

Classic Empire, shown with exercise rider Martin Rivera prior to Derby 143 (Churchill Downs/Coady Photography)

Arkansas Derby-winning champion Classic Empire, a valiant fourth in the Derby after getting slammed out of the gate, jogged one lap and galloped another.

“He was real aggressive, he was on the bridle – showing really encouraging signs that he’s happy and healthy right now,” said trainer Mark Casse’s son and assistant, Norman Casse.

Regular rider Julien Leparoux is looking forward to taking on Derby star Always Dreaming again.

“The good thing about that day was that he was so professional,” Leparoux said of Classic Empire. “Everybody was worried how he was going to act with that crowd, 160,000 people. He was such a pro.

“It’s too bad we got a rough start over that. (The Preakness) is not as big of a field. If he breaks as good as he did and puts me in the race, we should be in a better spot during the race and hopefully we can reverse the finish.

“Always Dreaming is a great horse, and he was very impressive. Not taking anything from what he did. I just want to have a good race for both of them, and see which one is the best one.

“Maybe it is Always Dreaming, but I don’t think the Derby was fair enough for Classic Empire to say, ‘OK, maybe Always Dreaming is better.’ I think if we have a good race and he has a good race, we’ll see who is best. That’s my goal in the Preakness: both of them good racing, good trip and see what happens.”

Along with the rest of the Baltimore-bound Casse team, Classic Empire will get in one more morning of training at Churchill, then embark at approximately 3 p.m. (EDT) Sunday for the van ride. Upon arrival at Pimlico, plans call for the Casse squadron to walk Monday and hit the track Tuesday.

Trainer Steve Asmussen’s dynamic duo of Lookin at Lee and Hence turned in gallops Saturday. Lookin at Lee, the Kentucky Derby runner-up, and Hence, the Sunland Derby hero who was a subpar 11th in the Run for the Roses, are on course to work Monday.

Sunday works are on tap for both of Keeneland’s Preakness contenders, Illinois Derby (G3) winner Multiplier and Lexington (G3) victor Senior Investment, who likewise galloped Saturday.