Cloud Computing, hero of the 2017 Preakness Stakes (G1), makes his four-year-old bow on Kentucky Derby Saturday at Belmont Park in the $200,000 Westchester Stakes (G3) against five foes. It’s the first start for the Chad Brown trainee since an eighth-place run in last August’s Travers Stakes (G1).
The son of MacLean’s Music wrapped up his Triple Crown season with a head victory over champion Classic Empire in the Preakness. Prior to that, the Kentucky-bred colt took his maiden debut, ran second in the Gotham Stakes (G3) and third in the Wood Memorial Stakes (G2), all at Aqueduct.
Cloud Computing shipped outside of New York for the first time in the Preakness but returned to tackle Saratoga and record a fifth-placing in the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) and aforementioned eighth in the Travers. He had surgery to remove an ankle chip a month following the Travers, then headed to Florida for the winter. The dark bay resumed working at Palm Meadows Training Center in February and shipped to Belmont in April.
Cloud Computing has been installed as the even-money morning-line favorite with Manny Franco, aboard for his first two career starts, taking back the mount.
Among those lining up against Cloud Computing in the one-mile Westchester, which is the traditional local prep for the June 9 Metropolitan Handicap (G1), are last-out Gulfstream Park Hardacre Mile (G2) winner Conquest Big E and multiple Grade 3 victor Tommy Macho, who finished third in last year’s Met Mile.
The Saturday stakes action at Belmont kicks off with the $200,000 Sheepshead Bay Stakes (G2), which attracted a field of seven fillies and mares going 1 3/8 miles on the grass.
Headlining the group as the 7-5 morning-line favorite is Holy Helena, who was recently honored with a Sovereign Award as Canada’s 2017 champion three-year-old filly.
The James Jerkens-trained daughter of Ghostzapper earned that title after defeating the boys last July in the first jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown, the Queen’s Plate. The dark bay miss is two-for-two thus far on the year, having captured her four-year-old bow in an allowance/optional claimer on February 4 and scoring in the March 3 The Very One Stakes (G3), both at Gulfstream Park.
Holy Helena gets a jockey switch to Franco as she tries for the winning hat trick.
Belmont’s Saturday card also includes the $150,000 Fort Marcy Stakes (G3), which precedes the Westchester and sends nine runners 1 1/8 miles over the inner turf.
Manitoulin and Spring Quality are exiting wins from last November, the former in Del Mar’s Hollywood Turf Cup (G2) and the latter in the Red Smith Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct.
Also entered are Chilean-bred Robert Bruce, an undefeated multiple Group 1 winner, and French-bred Silverwave, another Group 1 scorer who was last seen finishing off-the-board in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Fr-G1) in October. That duo is now trained by Chad Brown and will get first-time Lasix as they make their U.S. debuts in the Fort Marcy.
Across country at Santa Anita Park, two stakes have been carded for Kentucky Derby Saturday.
The $100,000 Senorita Stakes (G3) for sophomore fillies and $100,000 Singletary Stakes for sophomores. Each race is contested at a mile on the turf.
A field of seven was assembled for the Senorita, including Grade 2-placed Exuberance who was last seen rallying for fourth in the Santa Anita Oaks (G1). California Derby winner Choo Choo tops the eight-horse field entered in the Singletary.