A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Top two Derby finishers set to clash once again in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes in Baltimore

By Liane Crossley
NKyTribune contributor

Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming will see some familiar faces in the $1.5-million Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course near Baltimore on Saturday.

Four Derby starters, including longshot runner-up Lookin At Lee are back for another attempt in the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. Classic Empire (fourth in the Derby), Gunnevera (seventh) and Hence (eleventh) also are returnees.

The set-up will be rather different from the 20-horse field on the muddy Churchill Downs track. With only 10 runners in the Preakness line-up and the likelihood of a fast track, horses should not be compromised by track conditions or interference.

At 1 3/16th miles, the Preakness is the shortest of the Triple Crown races and a sixteenth of a mile shorter than the Kentucky Derby. The 142th renewal is set for 6:45 p.m. Live coverage on NBC begins at 5 p.m. with pre-race coverage starting at 2:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Network.

Following are summaries of the entrants and their connections to Kentucky in post-position order with native states in parentheses.

1. Multiplier (Ky.)

Multiplier made a name for himself by winning the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne Racecourse on April 22. His other three starts came at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans where he was third and then second before gaining his first career victory. His name reflects his sire The Factor.

Kentucky connection: Multiplier was sold as a weanling for $62,000 at the 2014 Keeneland November sale.

2. Cloud Computing (Ky.)

A newcomer the Triple Crown series, Cloud Computing began his career in February with a triumph at New York’s Aqueduct. In his only other starts, he was on-the-board in two Kentucky Derby preps at that track. His name is a reference to using the Internet for data storage.

Kentucky connection: He was sold as a yearling for $200,000 at the 2015 Keeneland September sale.

Derby winner and Preakness favorite Always Dreaming will be in the No. 4 hole for Saturday’s race, one spot inside Classic Empire (Pimlico Photo by Jim McCue)

3. Hence (Ky.)

The well traveled Hence was 11th in the Kentucky Derby. Prior to that he rallied from far back to win New Mexico’s Sunland Derby. He has made his other five starts in New York, Arkansas and Kentucky.

Kentucky connection: Hence campaigns for the famed white-fenced Calumet Farm in Lexington now owned by Brad Kelley, who won the 2013 Preakness Stakes with Oxbow in his black and gold racing colors. During Calumet’s glory days under different ownership, horses carried their legendary red and blue silks.

4. Always Dreaming (Ky.)

Always Dreaming lived up to his billing as the Kentucky Derby favorite with his front-running score in the Churchill Downs mud on May 6 for his fourth consecutive victory. He has been training since May 10 at Pimlico Race Course where he has particularly energetic during his exercise.

Trainer Todd Pletcher is looking for his first victory in the middle jewel of the Triple Crown after winning the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes twice.

Kentucky connection: His name is etched in Kentucky history as winner of the 143rd Run for the Roses. As a yearling, he was sold for $350,000 at the 2015 Keeneland September sale.

5. Classic Empire (Ky.)

One of the most accomplished in his crop, Classic Empire was fourth in the Kentucky Derby. His record includes the Eclipse Award as the best 2-year-old male racehorse of 2016 when he won the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita. This year his resume includes winning the Arkansas Derby on April 15.

He is trained by Mark Casse, who earned his first career victory at Keeneland in 1979 en route to induction in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2016.

Kentucky connection: Midway residents John and Debby Oxley purchased him at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale for $475,000.

6. Gunnevera (Ky.)

Gunnevera, seventh in the Kentucky Derby, established himself as top-shelf racer when he captured the Saratoga Special in August. He finished third in the Florida Derby on April 1 behind subsequent Derby hero Always Dreaming.

Kentucky connection: He was sold at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale for $16,000.

7. Term of Art (Ky.)

Term of Art has done all his racing in Southern California where he has won twice in nine starts. He is trained by Doug O’Neill, who won the 2012 Preakness with I’ll Have Another.

Kentucky connection: A $220,000 purchase at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale, Term of Art campaigns for Calumet Farm near Lexington’s Blue Grass airport. Now owned by Brad Kelley, Calumet won the 2013 Preakness Stakes with Oxbow in their black and gold racing colors.

8. Senior Investment (Ky.)

Senior Investment added his name to the list of top three-year-olds by charging from off the pace to win the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 15.

Kentucky connection: He was purchased for $95,000 at the 2015 Keeneland September sale. His trainer Ken McPeek grew up in Lexington and graduated from Tates Creek High School and the University of Kentucky.

9. Lookin At Lee (Ky.)

The Kentucky Derby runner-up hugged the rail at the back of the field before charging through the stretch to finish 2 ¾ lengths behind the victorious Always Dreaming as a 33-1 longshot. Prior to that, Lookin At Lee was third in the Arkansas Derby. His named is derived from sire Lookin At Lucky, who won the 2010 Preakness Stakes and co-owner Lee Levinson.

Kentucky connection: He was sold at 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale for $70,000.

10. Conquest Mo Money (N.Y.)

This bargain-priced runner blossomed into an overachiever to the surprise of his owners, who did not pay the original nomination fee for the Triple Crown series. Horses born in 2014 could be made eligible for $600 in January or $6,000 in March.

To enter the Preakness, Conquest Mo Money’s people paid $150,000 to supplement after the colt literally earned way. He was purchased for $8,500 as an unraced two-year-old at Keeneland’s November sale and since has banked $508,900 with three wins and two seconds in five starts. He was the runner-up in the Arkansas Derby on April 15 after being second in New Mexico’s Sunland Derby. His name is a nod to his sire Uncle Mo and his previous owner who christened all of his horse with the first name Conquest.

Kentucky connection: He was an $8,500 purchase at the 2016 Keeneland November sale.

Liane Crossley is a Lexington-based freelance writer

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One Comment

  1. Dean Knolls says:

    Always dreaming should be the favorite but I wouldn’t doubt if a big long shot wins this week. Preakness has a history of this occurring but not in last few years.

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