Cloud Computing won the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes last Saturday, to the amazement of some and to the delight of others. For those of us who enjoy looking for reasons why things may happen, and diving into the books of Thoroughbred breeding intrigue and mystery, this was an introduction to an exciting read.
It may all start with Cloud Computing’s dam. Quick Temper is a G2 stakes-placed A.P. Indy mare out of the excellent race mare in Halo America.
She had four previous foals with nothing but a handful of wins to their credit. She had been bred to Horse of the Year Ghostzapper and solid sire Indian Charlie. Still, really nothing to shout about.
So why would a mating to a non-stakes winning stallion, Maclean’s Music, produce a classic winner named Cloud Computing?
Let’s find out. Several clues will point the way.
Quick Temper was a quality filly that certainly earned her keep. She earned black type at Fair Grounds, Woodbine, Arlington Park, and Mountaineer. Once again, like previous columns here, she showed good ability, but not a Kentucky Oaks winner by any means.
All that is good in my book. She did earn over $259,000. Racing on dirt at a route of ground was her best quality. She wanted no part of sprinting, or turf, or all-weather surfaces.
But that could be expected. Her dam, Halo America, was also best at a route of ground over the dirt. She won at the highest level when she captured the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park. Quick Temper and her dam raced 66 times between them. Soundness? Check!
There is plenty of stamina here, too. Halo America’s sire is Waquoit. He won two Grade 1 races in New York at 1½ miles. Foaled in 1983, Waquoit won $2,225,360. He is also from the female family of Arts and Letters.
It appears to me that Quick Temper could use a couple things for her next mate, a very fast racehorse with some Mr. Prospector and/or Danzig blood. Let’s see, Mr. P with Danzig. That’s easy, Distorted Humor.
But one problem. Quick Temper’s early produce certainly did not make you want to breed directly to Distorted Humor – what with his $100,000 stud fee.
So, instead, how about one of his sons?
Here’s the rub…Distorted Humor’s best racing sons were all route horses themselves. Any Given Saturday (8.5f-9f), I’ll Have Another (8.5f-10f), Drosselmeyer (8f-12f), Flower Alley (8f-10f). Where had Distorted Humor’s speed gone?
It was found in Maclean’s Music. One brilliant start at a major track… almost breaking the track record at 6 furlongs… a son of one of the best sires of his day…. from a deep female family…sounds a little like Danzig himself.
The statistics will show that the vast majority of good stallions are stakes winners themselves. The exceptions usually fall into one mold, Danzig.
Speed box? Check.
In September of 2015, Hip 1831 at the Keeneland September Sale drew a lot of attention at the Hill ‘n’ Dale consignment. Any time an offspring of a $6,500 stallion brings $200,000, you need to pay attention. Cloud Computing was only getting started with getting the attention.
There is a lot of time between the yearling sales and a horse’s first race. Distorted Humor did not run at age two. If you saw his shins as a 3-year-old in Elliott Walden’s barn at Saratoga, as I did, you would know why.
Maclean’s Music did not run at age two. He was retired early because of an issue with a splint. As a result, trainer Chad Brown had to take his time with Cloud Computing. And, time he took.
Cloud Computing didn’t even make his first race until February of this year. After a sharp maiden win at six furlongs, Cloud Computing ran a game second to J Boys Echo in the Gotham Stakes. Another good race in the Wood Memorial showed his class and inexperience all at the same time. But you have to remember. It was the only the colt’s third lifetime start – and his second Graded Stakes.
Now, it was up to Chad Brown to show everyone why he is an Eclipse Award winning trainer. Brown took the full six weeks to prepare Cloud Computing for his next start, the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. Maybe it was Seth Klarman’s childhood connection to his hometown track Pimlico that initially guided that decision, but it was Chad Brown’s patient handling and training regimen that got his colt ready to run the race of his young life.
Rider Javier Castellano took his time getting Cloud Computing to the front. After that thrilling stretch run, they all rushed to the Winner’s Circle!
It may have all started in that mating plan, what seems like a long time ago now. But the read and the wait was well worth it. The ending – or is it the beginning – was thrilling.
Congratulations to all of those connections in showing us how to get there.