If you’re making plans to wager on the 2017 Preakness Stakes and you’re still in the process of gathering as much information about the thoroughbreds competing in the 142nd running of the annual second leg of the Triple Crown, then you’re going to enjoy the expert analysis you’re about to get on the No. 2 favorite to win the Preakness – Classic Empire.
With race day quickly approaching, let’s find out why Classic Empire is looking like a very real threat to upset the favored Always Dreaming.
Horseracing Betting Analysis, Profile & Free Picks For Classic Empire
Jockey: Julien R. Leparoux
Trainer: Mark E. Casse
Owner: John C. Oxley
Breeder: Steven Nicholson & Brandi Nicholson
Classic Empire +300
Record: 1-0-1 in three starts
Last race: Fourth in Kentucky Derby
Earnings Per Start: $244,767
Churchill Downs – 5/6/2017 – Kentucky Derby – 4
Oaklawn Park – 4/15/2017 – Arkansas Derby – 1
Gulfstream Park – 2/4/2017 – Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes – 3
Analysis: Classic Empire finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby as the No. 2 favorite behind Always Dreaming, but he did manage to win the Arkansas Derby in his previous race and finished third in the Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes in February. Classic Empire also won four of the five races he competed in as a 2-year-old in 2016 so he’s about as elite as they get heading into the 2017 Preakness Stakes.
Better yet, according to his handlers, the speedy thoroughbred has recovered nicely from his tough race at the Kentucky Derby after getting involved in some early jostling that pretty much ruined his chances of winning in Kentucky.
“Everything about him is perfect. Truthfully, I think he’s doing better than ever,” said Norman Casse, son and chief assistant to trainer Mark Casse. “All signs show that he’s going to run a really good race.”
At the Kentucky Derby, Classic Empire was involved in a chain-reaction kind of collision that began when Irish War Cry veered into McCraken. Five horses, including Classic Empire, were involved in the jostling and none finished in the money.
Classic Empire will be ridden by jockey Julien Leparoux again in the Preakness and the veteran rider is hoping for a better outcome with fewer horses in the field than the whopping 20 in the Kentucky Derby.
“He ran a great race to finish fourth and never quit on me,” Leparoux said. “Hopefully we get a cleaner trip at Pimlico.”
“It’s always a fairer race. You don’t have 20 horses, you don’t have a bunch of horses that don’t belong in the race,” Casse added. “Things get sorted out a little bit more here at the Preakness.”
Leparoux has recorded 56 wins, 52 second place finishes and 38 third place finishes in a whopping 328 starts this year.