Five years ago, in front of more than 140,000 spectators at the 142nd Preakness Stakes, trainer Chad Brown and owner Seth Klarman beat the odds.
Despite Always Dreaming and Classic Empire being considered the favorites entering the race, Cloud Computing was able to finish on top, securing Brown’s first victory in the Triple Crown series.
“It was a great moment,” Brown said looking back at that momentous achievement for Klaravich Stables. “To win the race for Seth Klarman, who is originally from Baltimore, was even extra rewarding.”
On Saturday, Brown returns to Pimlico Race Course hoping to find similar success with Early Voting, a colt that shares similarities with the 2017 Preakness champion.
“We’re back with the same connections, owner [and] similar horse with our team,” the 43-year-old trainer said. “So hopefully, we’re trying to do it again.”
Similar to Cloud Computing, Early Voting had enough points to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, but Brown elected to wait for the Preakness. Brown said Early Voting, who will be making his first start since finishing second by a neck in the Wood Memorial (G2) last month, is a lightly raced horse that wasn’t seasoned enough for the 20-horse field at the Derby.
The approach worked for Brown in 2017, and he is hoping it will once more in Baltimore as time will be on their side once again.
“It’s six weeks between his last race and the Preakness versus two weeks of rest for the horses coming out of the Derby,” he said.
Early Voting, the son of 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner, will be ridden by Jose Ortiz, a veteran jockey who has two victories in three career starts aboard the colt. Early Voting’s last win came at the Withers Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct in Queens, New York, on Feb. 5.
Heading into the 147th Preakness, Kentucky Derby runner-up Epicenter is a 6-5 favorite to win. Meanwhile, Early Voting has the second-best odds at 7-2, followed by Secret Oath (9-2), Simplification (6-1) and Creative Minister (10-1).
Brown said winning the Preakness again would be important for Klarman. Even though Klarman has had success over the years with Klaravich Stables, earning 388 wins and more than $29 million in prize money, Brown said Pimlico holds a special place in his heart.
The 64-year-old hedge fund manager moved to Baltimore at age 6 and lived a few blocks from the race track.
“We’re fortunate enough with our partnership to be involved with a lot of the big days of racing all over the country,” Brown said. “But with that said, I’d have to think this race still holds a very special place for him. It’d be quite a moment if we’re able to pull it off.”
Brown said working with Klarman, who he considers a close friend, has been a life-changing partnership.
“He has supplied us with so many talented horses and opportunities to work with that me and my team could never thank him enough for that,” he said. “And on a personal level, he has given me so much advice through the years, both personally and professionally, that’s invaluable.”
With Klarman’s 65th birthday on Saturday, Brown is seeking to turn back the clock and deliver the perfect gift of a first-place finish at the Preakness.
“[It would be] very gratifying for me to take apart and [give] one of my best friends a classic victory,” he said.
147th Preakness Stakes
Pimlico Race Course
Saturday, approx. 7:01 p.m.
TV: Chs. 11, 4 (coverage begins at 4 p.m)
Post position; horse; odds
1. Simplification (6-1)
2. Creative Minister (10-1)
3. Fenwick (50-1)
4. Secret Oath (9-2)
5. Early Voting (7-2)
6. Happy Jack (30-1)
7. Armagnac (12-1)
8. Epicenter (6-5)
9. Skippylongstocking (20-1)