Preakness featured another New York story
by TERESA GENARO
The 142nd Preakness was indeed a New York story (with a little Charm City thrown in)…just not quite the one that people rooting for a Triple Crown were hoping for.
Cloud Computing made his first start in January over Aqueduct’s inner track, breaking his maiden at first asking. Instead of shipping south to join trainer Chad Brown’s Florida string, the son of Maclean’s Music stayed at Belmont, running a good second in the Grade 3 Gotham, and a less-good third in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial. He weathered the winter and ran at a track at which handicappers look askance when they look for classic winners, a track often maligned for its quality of racing, its quality of runners.
Brown is a New York native, from Mechanicville, not far from Saratoga, and his prodigious stable is based primarily in New York. Co-owner Bill Lawrence is from Latham, just south of Saratoga, and still lives in New York’s Capital Region. Jockey Javier Castellano, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in a few months, spends most of the year riding in New York.
Co-owner Seth Klarman of Klaravich Stables was born in New York. Know where he grew up?
Baltimore. About three blocks away from Pimlico, in fact.
It wasn’t the New York story that a lot of people were hoping for, especially not the Always Dreaming team, some of whose owners grew up in and still claim ties to their Brooklyn neighborhood. After Derby glory, they tasted Baltimore disappointment (which tastes nothing like Baltimore crab cakes), their colt finishing eighth.
Before this year, four of the last five Derby winners have come from California. The same is true of the Preakness, and there’s been no little bit of trash-talking coming out of the West Coast—justified, no doubt—about its primacy in producing winners of these Triple Crown races.
So now, the East Coast gets to celebrate a little. Todd Pletcher won his second Derby, his fourth Triple Crown race. With his first Preakness starter, Brown, who in January won his first Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer, won his first Triple Crown race, filling a prominent gap on a résumé full of Grade I wins, many of them coming on the grass.
John Velazquez, another New York guy, notched another Triple Crown win; Castellano got his second, after winning this race more than a decade ago on Bernardini.
Now we head to the Belmont Stakes, where “New York, New York” is the theme song and where New York horses have done comparatively well recently, with Tonalist winning in 2014 and Palace Malice the year before that.
It seems a little hard to believe that either Always Dreaming or Cloud Computing will take on the 12-furlong oval of their home track in three weeks; it would be nice, but I’d bet against it. But maybe there’s another New York horse with New York connections that wants to step up, and give the hometown crowd something to cheer for on June 10.
Trainer Chad Brown and co-owners Bill Lawrence and Seth Klarman celebrate their first classic win (Photos by Z)