Belmont Stakes' luster depends on Preakness outcome

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Cloud Computing, ridden by Javier Castellano, finished first in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, denying Kentucky Derby victor Always Dreaming a chance to capture horse racing's Triple Crown.

Always Dreaming captured the country's attention two weeks ago, and his aggressive running style seemed perfectly suited for the shorter Preakness, especially against a green horse like Cloud Computing that entered the race with only three starts.

All eyes turned to Baltimore on May 20, as the Pimlico Race Course became the center of the thoroughbred racing world.

Classic Empire dueled with Always Dreaming throughout most of the race before taking the lead turning for home. But then he started to lose ground to Cloud Computing, who moved off the rail and just passed Classic Empire on the outside at the wire.

Senior Investment, a 30-1 shot, took third.

Stephanie Hirn, of Alexandria Va., walks in the grandstand area ahead of the running of the Preakness Stakes horse race at Pimlico race course, Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Baltimore. "We're just going to take it race by race with this horse".

Winning the Triple Crown in racing is harder than it looks. Always Dreaming was only the ninth horse Pletcher had ever raced in the Preakness, and only the second in the past five years.

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Always Dreaming has run away from the competition in four consecutive victories this year, winning by a combined 23 ¼ lengths. "I'm someone who has been in a lot of races and lost a lot of races, so I know you don't want to be overconfident, but I do feel very, very good about the way he's coming into it". "I think we're in good shape".

The win has denied Kentucky Derby victor Always Dreaming a chance to capture horse racing's Triple Crown.

"You are know these equine athletes are going to give their heart and soul-they leave it on the track every time-and these jockeys are going to get the best out of them", he said, adding that the Derby result could be attributed to the horsemanship skills of Pletcher, the riding ability of John Velazquez, and "a little bit of luck too".

The only Preakness entrant taken to the track was Term of Art, Calumet Farm's grade 3 victor. "Johnny was able to make his way to the outside", said trainer Todd Pletcher.

The Preakness totals $2.65 million in purse money, with $1.5 million going to the victor.

The final leg of the Triple Crown is the Belmont Stakes on June 10 in Elmont, New York. He finished off the board at fourth, but a better trip in the Preakness Stakes could lead to victory.

The record for Preakness victories by a trainer is seven by R. Wyndham Walden, who most recently saddled the victor in the Run for the Black-Eyed Susans in 1888.