When Cloud Computing ran down Classic Empire in the final strides of the Preakness, the 13-1 longshot provided trainer Chad Brown with his first career victory on the Triple Crown trail. Brown will attempt another improbable upset when he sends out Twisted Tom (20-1 morning line) in the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes Saturday evening.
Twisted Tom has just two stakes races on his resume, but has captured victories in both of them. The son of Creative Cause rallied off a slow pace to just get up in the 100k Private Terms, then returned a month later to with the 123k Federico Tesio. Both races were run at Laurel Park in Maryland.
Although his Beyer speed figures lag behind the rest of the Belmont field (a high of 78 earned in the Tesio), Twisted Tom could be suited for the race’s unique distance.
“I think the horse wants to go a mile and a half,” Brown said earlier this week. “It’s a rare opportunity to do so. He’s in good form right now, three straight wins on the dirt, and seems to be getting better.”
The face that Twisted Tom shows up in this spot at all should cause fans to take a deeper look into his chances. Brown is not one to throw a horse in over his head without warrant, and given Twisted Tom is likely to be one of the longest prices on the board, his trainer’s confidence may be an indicator the horse is prepared to outrun his odds.
With his last race coming on April 22nd, Twisted Tom has had the second most time off among horses aiming for the Belmont crown. Only the Japanese invader Epicharis has enjoyed a longer layoff, finishing second to Thunder Snow in the UAE Derby March 25th.
“If you catch some tired horses and our horse moves forward, maybe he can get into that group,” Brown added.
The rail draw should not hinder Twisted Tom, as Brown plans to send the gelding toward the front in this marathon. Although other speed projects to follow suit, Twisted Tom should be able to hold a beneficial position along the rail heading around the first turn.
From then on, who knows? What we do know are some of the top connections in the game are at the helm of this longshot, with Javier Castellano taking over the mount. Brown and Castellano have combined to capture 37% of their joint starts this meet.
As the lone New York-bred horse in the field, perhaps Twisted Tom can make some noise in the Big Apple.