Early Saturday evening, casual horse racing fans learned what everybody near Saratoga Springs already knew: Chad Brown is one of the top trainers in the sport, no matter the surface.

The 38-year old from Mechanicville has long been labeled a "turf horse trainer", but by winning the 142nd Preakness Stakes, Brown has proven he belongs in the company of Todd Pletcher, Bob Baffert and the like. Brown has an Eclipse Award, Saratoga training title, eight Breeders' Cup wins and three dozen major graded stakes victories on his resume. And he's only 38.

Brown teamed up with another Capital Region native, Shaker grad Bill Lawrence, in the Kentucky Derby with Practical Joke and that tandem was the right connection this time around with Cloud Computing. Brown made no bones about their strategy to give Cloud Computing six weeks of rest before taking on Derby winner Always Dreaming and second favorite at Preakness post time, Classic Empire. That strategy, bringing a fresh horse into the mix, often draws criticism at the Belmont Stakes when a Triple Crown is on the line, but you know what? More often than not, it works.

Give Brown credit. He has erased any doubt that he could win a big race on dirt, let alone a Triple Crown race.

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