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Brown, Klarman Hope for Deja Vu With Early Voting

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Trainer Chad Brown and owner Seth Klarman hope there will be blooming deja vu with black-eyed Susans this weekend at Pimlico Racecourse.

For them there is a fervent hope that when Early voting takes place in the May 21 Preakness Stakes (G1) for 3-year-olds, it will play out like 2017, when a cautious decision with cloud computing resulted in a classic victory for them.

“There are many similarities between early voting and cloud computing,” Brown said. “They both have good speed at the start of the stretch. They are strong, sharp workhorses; powerful horses. Both are attractive, moving horses and they are lightly raced.”

To be run lightly and wisely at 3 years old and to spend the winter in the cold Aqueduct Racecourse definitively links Cloud Computing and early voting.

Cloud Computing with jockey Javier Castellano, left catches Classic Empire with jockey Julien Leparoux on the wire to win the 142nd Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 20, 2017 at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, MD.
Photo: Skip Dickstein

Cloud Computing (left) catches Classic Empire on the wire to win the 2017 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Racecourse

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Cloud Computing, son of Maclean’s Music owned by Klarman’s Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence, finished second in the Gotham Stakes (G3) and then third in the Wood Memorial Stakes presented by NYRA Bets (G2), both at Aqueduct. Now a stallion at Spendthrift Farm, he racked up 40 qualifying points, which would have been enough to run in the Kentucky Derby.

But the Wood, in which Cloud Computing rallied from seventh place, was only the colt’s third career start, and Brown believed he lacked the seasoning for a 20-horsepower clash in the Run. for the Roses. Have another more experienced and accomplished Derby contender for Klarman and Lawrence in the 2017 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) runner-up Prank call made the decision even more of a slam dunk for Brown, who would win the second of his four consecutive Eclipse Awards as Outstanding Coach that year.

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It turned out that Practical Joke finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Marks (G1) recessed Always dreaming then got a furlough which led to a top-tier victory this summer in the H. Allen Jerkens Stakes (G1) and a stud contract with Ashford Stud.

Meanwhile, Cloud Computing thrived on six weeks off and ran the race of its life in the Preakness Stakes, clogging Classic Empire in the final strides and winning by a header for what turned out to be Brown’s only classic victory.

Fast forward to 2022 and the 148th Kentucky Derby and Brown could have started early voting in the first leg of the Triple Crown on May 7. The son of gun runner had won the Withers Stakes (G3) at Big A and finished second in the Wood Memorial Stakes presented by Resorts World Casino (G2) to give him 50 points and place him safely 14th in the standings. But, like Cloud Computing, the Wood was only the third career start for Early Voting, so Brown returned to his 2017 playbook. He ran Blue Grass (G1) winner Zandon in the Kentucky Derby – where he was third – and booked early voting for the $1.5million Preakness, where he hopes lightning can strike twice.

“He trains really well and the spacing suits him. He appreciates a little more time,” said Brown, whose dark bay colt is looking to become the third consecutive ‘new shooter’ or non-Kentucky Derby starter to win. the Preakness and fourth in six years after a run of nine wins in ten years by the starters of Run for the Roses. “If he goes into the Preakness like he trained, he’s got a really good shot in there.”

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Early Voting (outside) and Miles D - Belmont Park, May 13, 2022
Photo: Coglianese Photos

Early voting (outdoors) runs at Belmont Park on May 13

One of the interesting angles of Early Voting’s presence involves his defection which played a part in allowing the 80-1 Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike to get a spot on the pitch at the last minute. Still, skipping the 1 1/4 mile classic proved to be a very shrewd move on Brown’s part as the longshot win at Churchill Falls was helped by a suicidal early pacing that likely would have consumed the quick early vote. Barring a stunning encore of the opening quarter mile of :21.78 in the Kentucky Derby, the pace seems to be more reasonable in the shorter center jewel of the Triple Crown, and with Rich Strike skipping the Preakness, Early Voting is listed as the second choice in betting behind the Run for the Roses runner-up Epicenter .

“I think it was a good decision to keep him out of the Kentucky Derby,” Brown said. “There should be a more reasonable pace in the Preakness.”

Early Voting, who was bred by Three Chimneys Farm, shouldn’t be fazed by Saturday’s 1 3/16 mile distance. His dam, Amour d’Ete, is a daughter of the double winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) Tiznow, and he ran at least a mile in his three starts. He won his debut at a mile on December 18 at Aqueduct, then took a 4 1/2 length victory in the 1 1/8 mile Withers while leading throughout. In the April 9 wood, he carved solid fractions of :47.75 and 1:11.59 into the nine-stay stakes and held a two-length advantage at the eighth post, but couldn’t fend off a late offer of Mo Donegal and lost by a neck to a colt that finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby.

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“He’s always looked like a horse that would enjoy two corners, and he runs with a good, strong, steady pace. He can go a distance the right way. He’s always trained like a horse with a certain quality to him” , Brown said of the $200,000 purchase by Triphammer Farm from the consignment of Hill ‘n’ Dale sales agency during the September 2020 sale at Keeneland. “He’s a very, very well-mannered horse. A beautiful horse and a strong horse that’s well made. He’s completely professional when he goes out there to work.”

The third of six foals, Early Voting is the only runner placed for his dam who has never raced, who also has a yearling filly by Constitution and a weaned Volatile filly.

For Klarman, a Baltimore native and hedge fund manager who became a billionaire investor by founding the Baupost Group, winning the 2017 Preakness had a special meaning. Afterwards, he spoke about the approach that paved the way for this victory in his hometown.

“I have no regrets missing the Derby,” he said at the time. “I think maybe one of the reasons we won today was that we were patient and didn’t pitch an inexperienced horse against a field of 20 horses in the Derby on a very difficult.”

Five years later, on what will be Klarman’s 65th birthday, he and Brown could repeat the same words on the third Saturday in May. All they need is some deja vu to get to Baltimore.

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