NEW YORK — Roca Rojo drew off to a 3 1/4-length victory Sunday in the $200,000 Athenia Stakes for fillies and mares on the turf at Belmont Park.
The 4-year-old from Ireland trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Javier Castellano kicked home from sixth at the top of the stretch to secure her first stakes victory. It was her fifth win in six career starts, improving her Belmont record to 3 for 3.
“It was impressive the way she did it today,” Castellano said. “Everything worked out perfect. We were able to sit off the pace and the ground was a little soft, and she liked that.”
Castellano, who turned 39 on Sunday, celebrated with three victories.
The time was 1:43.20 for 1 1/16 miles over the course rated soft. Roca Rojo paid $10.20, $5 and $3.70.
Stormy Victoria also finished strongly, coming from ninth to get second. She returned $6.70 and $5.
Mexican Gold, also trained by Brown, got third and paid $3.70 to show.
The bid for the Triple Crown is over.
Cloud Computing won the 142nd Preakness Stakes in 1.55.98, successfully ending Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness favorite Always Dreaming’s Triple Crown run and upsetting multiple favorites.
Classic Empire and Always Dreaming bolted out in front early, splitting the lead multiple times in the first ½ mile, but Cloud Computing made a late run for trainer Chad Brown’s first Preakness win and jockey Javier Castellano’s second Preakness win.
Classic Empire finished second, Senior Investment finished third, and Always Dreaming finished outside the top 5.
Cloud Computing did not run in the Kentucky Derby, but came into the race with 14-1 odds.
Brown is not the only one who has a special connection to this win. Seth Klarman, one of Cloud Computing’s owners, is a Baltimore-native that grew up watching horse racing at Pimlico. The trainer also revealed that the strategy was to wait behind Always Dreaming and make a late move for the lead.
Always Dreaming ran away from the competition in four consecutive victories this year, winning by a combined 23 ¼ lengths, but could not outmatch Cloud Computing down the stretch. Two years ago, American Pharoah became the first horse to sweep the Derby, Preakness and Belmont in 37 years, earning a Triple Crown win.
Contributing: Associated Press
Not sure who to pick this afternoon at the Preakness? Eddie Olczyk has your back. Here are Eddie’s picks:
Race 8: 2-4-6
Race 9: 5-4
Race 10: 2-10-6-3
Race 11: 2-5
Race 12: 7-10-4-3
Race 13: 5-4-9-10-1
Coverage of the 2017 Preakness Stakes begins at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, which you can stream here.