Always Dreaming, the horse that won the 2017 Kentucky Derby, will try to take the Preakness Stakes, but will face a huge challenge from Classic Creaming! Before the second race in the Triple Crown takes place, get to know all about Classic Empire.
1. He’s already a champion. When the starting gun goes off on May 20 and ten horses compete in the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes, fans will see if either Classic Empire or Always Dreaming will claim the second jewel in racing’s Triple Crown. Even if Always Dreaming manages to shut him out for a second consecutive race, Classic Empire can rest easy knowing that he’s in the record books. The horse was crowned the American Champion Two-Year-Old Male Horse in 2016, after winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Breeders’ Futurist Stakes.
2. Classic Empire is known to be a “bad boy.” Is it possible that Classic is the Dennis Rodman, 56, of racing? Much like the most notorious “bad boy” in the NBA, Classic Empire has a bad attitude. He’s known for being “abrasive” and “not serious” about racing, according to USA Today. He even threw his rider and did a U-turn during a 2016 race at Saratoga!
3. He has a famous half-brother. Classic Empires parents are Pioneerof the Nile and Sambuca Classica. Pioneerof The Nile came in second place during the 2009 Kentucky Derby and retired after suffering a soft tissue injury. He was put out to stud, and along with breeding with Sambuca Classica, Pioneerof the Nile had a colt with Littleprincessemma. That colt, and Classic Empire’s half-brother, is American Pharoah, the 2015 Triple Crown Winner.
4. Classic Empire nearly got knocked down during the Derby. Classic Empire came in at a disappointing fourth place during the 2017 Kentucky Derby. What happened? Well, he was the victim of a five-horse collision! When the race started, Irish War Cry veered left into McCracken, who bashed into Empire. He then knocked into J Boys Echo, as Irish War Cry nearly collided with Tapwrit.
He got wiped out at the start,” his trainer, Mark Casse, said after the race, per Newsday. “McCraken nearly knocked us down. I think it cost us a few placings at least. Julien [Leparoux, his jockey] told me, ‘I don’t know how we stayed up. I didn’t get bumped, I got clobbered.’” Classic recovered enough to finish fourth, behind Dreaming, Looking At Lee and third-place Battle of Midway.
5. His jockey is also an award-winner. Classic Empire has 3/1 odds of winning the Preakness as of May 15, per ESPN. If there’s anyone to ride that horse to the winner’s circle, it’s Julien Leparoux. The 33-year-old won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 2009, and rode Classic to the Breeder’s Cup Juvinile title in 2016. If he gets a clean break, it’s very possible Julien will take Classic Empire to victory.
Who do you want to win the Preakness Stakes, HollywoodLifers?