Tom Law, the managing editor of ST Publishing’s projects The Saratoga Special and thisishorseracing.com and a senior writer for Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred, will receive the David F. Woods Award for coverage of the 2017 Preakness Stakes.
Law’s article, which appeared in the July edition of Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred magazine, covered winner Cloud Computing’s path to the second leg of the Triple Crown for owners Klaravich Stable and Bill Lawrence and trainer Chad Brown. Headlined “Under Cover,” the report followed the colt’s progress from an unraced 2-year-old at Saratoga Race Course the previous summer to Grade 1 winner. Closing in on a debut race, Cloud Computing had surgery on a front ankle and didn’t make his first start until February 2017 at Aqueduct. The Preakness was his fourth start, and Brown paid credit to his owners’ patience 10 months earlier as a key to the win.
“Do your thing, whatever you think,” co-owner Seth Klarman told Brown about the surgery.
“I like this horse,” Brown replied. “I think we should clean it up.”
Cloud Computing did the rest, recovering from the surgery, training back to fitness, breaking his maiden in the winter and placing in New York preps the Gotham Stakes and Wood Memorial. Though his horse had enough points to enter, Brown passed on the Kentucky Derby and aimed for the Preakness. Cloud Computing, a Kentucky-bred son of Maclean’s Music and the A. P. Indy mare Quick Temper, arrived late on Preakness Week and immediately dazzled those watching morning training. In the Preakness, Cloud Computing wore down 2-year-old champion Classic Empire, who was fourth in the Derby two weeks earlier, in the stretch to win by a head at better than 13-1.
“I wasn’t positive the horse was going to get there right at the wire,” said Brown afterward. “We had time on our side today. Six weeks of rest might have made the difference.”
Law interviewed Brown after the race, and they talked about the horse's early days.
“I’m fortunate to be in Saratoga during the meet’s offseason when horses like Cloud Computing are starting their careers, so the understanding of how they’re prepared played a role in this piece,” Law said. “That, combined with the accessibility of Chad Brown immediately after the race then days later in Saratoga, helped tremendously.”
The Woods Award is the seventh for a Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred article – following honors in 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2014 by Sean Clancy and in 2015 and 2017 by Joe Clancy. For Law, the Woods Award completes a personal Triple Crown of writing awards as he was honored with the Red Smith Award for coverage of the 2003 Kentucky Derby while writing for Thoroughbred Times and the Joe Hirsch Award for coverage of the 2014 Belmont Stakes at thisishorseracing.com. Law, a former president of the National Turf Writers And Broadcasters, lives in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
“I owe most of the credit to Joe and Sean Clancy,” Law said. “We work as a team on everything and I’m honored to add my name with theirs on the awards’ list of winners.”
The David F. Woods Memorial Award was initiated in 1982 to honor the memory of Woods, a long-time racetrack publicist and Baltimore Evening Sun columnist. The award will be presented at the Alibi Breakfast at Pimlico Race Course May 17.