Preakness profiles: Classic Empire
In our Preakness profiles, we look into each of Saturday’s Preakness contenders.
WHO IS CLASSIC EMPIRE?
Last year’s Eclipse winner as two-year-old champion, this son of Pioneerof the Nile has three Grade 1 wins to his credit, most recently in the Arkansas Derby in April. He’s been a bit of a puzzle in 2017, opening his campaign with a bland third-place finish in the Grade 2 Holy Bull and experiencing some training issues thereafter. In the Kentucky Derby, he was a well-beaten fourth after a troubled trip.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT CLASSIC EMPIRE
“I think he looks great,” said trainer Mark Casse. “We thought he came into the Derby in tip-top shape and we feel the same way for the Preakness.
“He’s fired up. He’s ready.”
WHY HE COULD WIN
Classic Empire has plenty of talent, and on best might be the match for any horse here. Even with the early troubles he endured in the Derby, he managed to rally into fourth, and if he can work out a clean trip here under Julien Leparoux, his connections think he can run a big race.
WHY HE COULD LOSE
Classic Empire’s 2017 form just hasn’t quite measure up — for whatever reason — to his 2016 efforts. He had no great excuse in the Holy Bull, then found trouble in his next two starts, though overcoming it to varying extents. Always Dreaming, who probably possesses a pace advantage over this runner, may work out a better trip. All in all, Classic Empire will need to find his best form of the year to win the Preakness.
Classic Empire File
- Trainer Mark Casse
- Owner John Oxley
- Jockey Julien Leparoux
- Bred in Kentucky by Steven Nicholson & Brandi Nicholson
- Breeding Pioneerof the Nile-Sambuca Classica, by Cat Thief
- Record 8-5-0-1, earnings of $2,220,220
- Career highlights 2016 Eclipse champion 2-year-old colt, three Grade 1 wins including G1 Arkansas Derby
- Morning line odds 3-1