Race for third up for grabs behind top pair in Preakness

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

May 16th, 2017

Much of the campaign for sophomores up until two weeks ago was a muddled one for me, though I can now see through the cloud of smoke as to who has separated themselves from their fellow three-year-old runners. And I see Saturday’s Preakness S. (G1) as a two-horse race between Kentucky Derby star ALWAYS DREAMING and champion CLASSIC EMPIRE.

The former is unbeaten from four races since coming to the Pletcher barn last fall and I get every indication the son of Bodemeister is just getting warmed up. Dark bay colt has yet to be seriously challenged this season and could be looking to become our second Triple Crown winner in three years at Belmont Park three weeks later.

Classic Empire was an excellent fourth in the Derby and has every right to take a big step forward at Pimlico. The Mark Casse charge had a tough trip and was much further back early than he is accustomed to, but still oozed his class in nearly hitting the board under Julien Leparoux. Bay son of Pioneerof the Nile was also likely a race short at Churchill Downs and we could see his best on Saturday.

Always Dreaming and Classic Empire appear capable of separating themselves from the rest of the Preakness contestants.

So who runs third?

LOOKIN AT LEE would be an obvious choice after a fine rally to be second in the Run for the Roses for Steve Asmussen, with five lengths separating him from his nearest foe. I do appreciate the progression of this colt and consider the son of Lookin at Lucky to be a very talented horse who impressed late in the Arkansas Derby (G1), but his trip was ideal in the Derby and Lookin at Lee could be overbet as a last-to-first runner in a field without an abundance of pace.

MULTIPLIER has made forward steps with each lifetime try and might have a higher ceiling for trainer Brendan Walsh. Bay son of The Factor came home swiftly at 1 1/8 miles in the Illinois Derby (G3) to hint he could get the trip, but his pedigree is still something of a concern and doubts remains as to just how classy the colt is. I consider Multiplier to be a very nice prospect but am not willing to jump on board at this distance/level yet.  

CLOUD COMPUTING is clearly a talented runner who comes off a third-place finish in the Wood and will now get the services of Javier Castellano. Son of Maclean’s Music has trained in especially sharp fashion this spring and has been hyped-up as a serious colt by trainer Chad Brown for a while now, so I should probably listen to the fine conditioner. With that said, Cloud Computing didn’t look great late in the Wood and I would like to see a bit more foundation under him in preparation of the Preakness.

Multiple graded winner GUNNEVERA ran a bang-up race in the Derby when seventh but I still find it as puzzling and a negative sign that regular pilot Javier Castellano chooses to ride Cloud Computing in the Preakness. It is worth note, however, that Mike Smith will pick up the mount and that has often proved favorable in races of this magnitude.

Euro import LANCASTER BOMBER has a lot of class and I do find it most intriguing that the son of War Front will test the waters in the Preakness for expert connections. I will toss him in for a few exotics, perhaps, but too many unknowns make him hard to back with any kind of confidence.

HENCE, TERM OF ART and SENIOR INVESTMENT all have ability, but it would surprise me some if either of this trio was to get a big paycheck against this cast.

I have no reason in particular to not have confidence in CONQUEST MO MONEY after a fine second when splitting the aforementioned Classic Empire and Lookin at Lee in the Arkansas Derby (G1). Miguel Hernandez trainee impressed me leaving Sunland Park for the first time with his Oaklawn performance and the decision to skip the Derby and race at Pimlico could turn out to be a brilliant move. Bay son of Uncle Mo has five route races under his belt to be fit for this test and he is equally adept at running on or close up to the pace, equally. As long as the colt and jockey Jorge Carreno avoid butting heads in the early stages with the top pair, I like Conquest Mo Money’s chances to hit the board and earn a classic placing.

And what a great story for a horse purchased for $8,500 in November! has free PPs for the prospective Preakness field and check out the 2017 Preakness page with links to additional coverage surrounding the middle jewel of the American Triple Crown