People who bet on horses did not expect Cloud Computing to win the 2017 Preakness Stakes, but the Maclean’s Music colt could hardly be said to have derailed the Triple Crown gravy train. Sportsbooks can blame that on Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming – or rather on the quick turnaround between the first and second leg of the Triple Crown Championship. AD raced valiantly and actually led for most of the race but around the final turn and down the stretch he finally said “screw this noise” and faded into eighth place. Like Walter Mitty he decided to stop dreaming and start living. Additionally, Trainer Todd Pletcher said he hadn’t decided yet whether or not to make the trip to Belmont Park. In either case, Always Dreaming can take solace – assuming that a horse can do such a thing – in the fact that he won the Kentucky Derby. How many horses can say that? Actually, none – the only horse who could actually talk never ran in the Run of the Roses.
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As it turns out, however, Preakness winner Cloud Computing is not expected at Belmont Park on June 10th either (which would make it the first time that the first two leg winners skipped Belmont since Super Saver and Lookin At Lucky in 2010). CC’s whole plan depended on his being fresh. “I’m not going to dispute the fact that I brought in a fresh horse as part of our strategy,” trainer Chad C. Brown said. “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”. Brown told BloodHorse.com that running the Belmont Stakes is nothing more than a possibility at juncture. “We haven’t ruled it out,” the trainer said. “We’re just going to evaluate the horse this week and probably by next weekend we may have a decision.”
Cloud Computing may be a one-race horse but fortunately for people who bet on horses at a sportsbook, Elmont is not a one-horse town. According to drf.com, 13 horses are currently being considered for the Test of the Champions:
- Classic Empire
- Conquest Mo Money
- J Boys Echo
- Lookin At Lee
- Senior Investment
- Twisted Tom
Classic Empire trainer Mark Casse has not guaranteed that his colt will race at the Belmont Stakes but did quip, “you know us, we like running.” Empire finished 4th at Churchill Downs which was actually quite impressive given that he was involved in a five-horse pile up, and came in second at Pimlico. As far as people who bet on horses at a sportsbook, it is now or never for the Pioneerof the Nile colt. However, if the field in Belmont does indeed reach double figures, that could bode ill for Empire. As Casse said, “the Preakness was easier on him than the Derby,” and it may have been easier precisely because there were fewer horses.