The Belmont Stakes will entertain a new shooter by the name of Twisted Tom. This three-year-old gelding out of Giant’s Causeway is fresh off a three-race win streak where he was last out winning the Private Terms and Frederico Tesio. He’s also trained by Chad Brown, who saw Cloud Computing claim the Preakness Stakes just a couple weeks ago.
Brown has been lightly drilling Twisted Tom ahead of the final leg of the Triple Crown and seems very enthusiastic about the gelding’s chances. “This horse has continued to improve all year, and more of the same today. It was a nice, strong work from him.” Brown continued that the Belmont Stakes is a, “huge class test for this horse, but I love the way he’s developed. I do think he can stay a mile and a half, I think the longer the better for him, so I’m anxious to get him out to that distance, but it’ll be a tough field, a large field.”
With Always Dreaming and Cloud Computing withdrawn from contention, the door is wide open for any number of contenders to take the 1 1/2 mile challenge at Belmont Park. Amongst those vying for the title are J Boys Echo, Tapwrit, Irish War Cry and Gormley. Classic Empire is expected to be the favorite.
Cloud Computing won the Preakness thanks in large part to being a new shooter, which Brown admitted was part of the strategy. Could this be the same tale weaving with new talent? It appears to be that way. Twisted Tom is an upward trending contender.”He appreciated the time after the win in the Tesio and has had a nice string of works since then, so the horse seems to be sitting on a new top again,” Brown said.
Despite the fact that his owners at Cobra Farm will have to pay a small $75,000 fee to run him in the Belmont, Twisted Tom appears bound for the race on June 10th and is undeniably a consideration amongst a pretty tight field. Brown may be working the system a little bit to his advantage, but results are results. For him…and for you.
Memorial Day concludes Pimlico’s short 12-day meet, and the race course will offer mandatory payouts in the 20-cent Rainbow 6, 50-cent Late Pick 5 and $1 Super Hi-5 wagers on closing day of the Preakness Meet Monday May 29. Pimlico set attendance and handle records for the Preakness Stakes when over 140,000 fans watched 13-1 shot Cloud Computing chase down Classic Empire in the deep stretch to win the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes. Those fans wagered over $97,000,000 on on Pimlico’s 14-day race program on Preakness Stakes day.
The Rainbow 6 jackpot is paid out only when there is a single unique ticket sold with all six winners. On days when there is no unique ticket, 60 percent of that day’s pool goes back to those bettors holding tickets with the most winners while 30 percent is carried over to the jackpot pool. However, on days when a mandatory payout is scheduled the entire pool is shared by those holding tickets with the most winners.
Last Thursday, one lucky bettor hit a life-changing 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot of $185,957.24 from a $420 investment purchased through the Xpressbet wagering platform’s Oregon hub.
Also on Preakness weekend, Hall of Fame horseman Steve Asmussen earned a $50,000 bonus from a total pool of $100,000 offered to trainers who run a minimum of five horses in the 15 stakes races over Preakness weekend. Asmussen totaled 38 points while trainer Mark Casse finished 2nd with 33 points to earn $25,000. Points were accumulated for finishing first (10 points), second (seven), third, (five), fourth (three) and having a starter (one) in the selected stakes races.
Maryland racing shifts to Laurel Park for the summer meet beginning Friday, June 9 and continuing through Sunday, Aug. 20.
Pimlico Sets Attendance and Handle Records for Preakness Stakes
Cloud Computing closed in the deep stretch to win the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes (G1) on a record day at Pimlico Race Course. And a track-record 140,327 witness the exciting finish. The Maryland Jockey Club announced that Saturday’s Preakness Stakes card broke all handle and attendance records at Pimlico.
Total handle on Pimlico’s 14-race program was $97,168,658, an increase of three percent over the previous record of $94,127,434 and a 14-percent increase over 2015 wagering. The attendance of 140,327 broke last year’s record of 135,256.
The Maryland Jockey Club also announced that in-state handle was up 7.1 percent from last year and 10.4 percent from 2015.
“From morning into evening, we witnessed an incredible day of world-class racing and eclectic entertainment,” said Sal Sinatra, President of the Maryland Jockey Club. “The sport of Thoroughbred racing is being rejuvenated and reimagined by the Stronach family. Their commitment to this sport is remarkable and unparalleled. Their vision is being embraced by horsemen and fans around the country.”
Betting on the Preakness this year was $60.2 million when counting all wagers that ended in the race, down 1.7 percent from the record of $61.3 million set last year. This year’s Preakness had 10 horses, while last year’s race had 11 horses.
Overnight television ratings for the race portion of the Preakness broadcast on NBC peaked at 6.2 with a 14 share, identical to the overnight figures for the race portion of the broadcast last year. NBC said the broadcast was the highest-rated sports broadcast of the weekend.
Sinatra added. “We want to thank the fans who came to Pimlico Saturday as well as the horsemen who supported our program this weekend. And, of course, the incredible equine athletes for their spirit and beauty.”
Always Dreaming was the 6/5 pre-race favorite to win the 142nd annual Preakness Stakes. If he did, the Kentucky Derby (G1) winner would have had a shot to make history in his quest to become the 13th horse ever to win the Triple Crown. While Always Dreaming lead after three-quarters, he quickly faded away during the stretch run, and finished a distant eighth.
Trainer Todd Pletcher mentioned that Always Dreaming was healthy following the Preakness Stakes, but wasn’t sure what happened to make him fall to the back of the pack late in the race.
“He’s healthy and happy,” said Pletcher. “We’ll head back to Belmont … and regroup. When I spoke to the ownership after the race yesterday, we all decided we wouldn’t make a decision (regarding his next start) until we got him home and evaluated him. … Talking to (jockey John Velazquez) a little more, he was concerned down the backside, that he wasn’t taking him there the same way he was taking him there in the Kentucky Derby and Florida Derby (G1).
“Other than that, I don’t have a good explanation. He came back healthy and looks good. … The surface—I hate to use that as an excuse, because he’s run well over all kinds of different surfaces, (but) this one was a little bit different, because it was in that drying-out phase. But it wasn’t his day, I suppose.”
Senior Investment, who finished third in the Preakness Stakes, will run in the Belmont Stakes (G1).
“We just used this as a prep race,” joked trainer, Kenny McPeek. “We felt all along he wanted a mile and a half, but the Belmont is tougher than this sometimes, because the pace can be much slower. Does it suit him? He’s just going to keep coming. … We made a decision yesterday before the race, if he finishes fourth or better, he punches his ticket.”
The day after winning the Preakness Stakes (G1) in an upset, Cloud Computing was set to leave Baltimore and the Pimlico Race Course and return to his Belmont Park home. Trainer Chad Brown left the night before, but before leaving his discussed the possibility of Cloud Computing running in the Belmont Stakes (G1), the third and final leg of the Triple Crown.
“We haven’t ruled it [Belmont Stakes] out,” said Brown. “We’re just going to evaluate the horse this week and probably by next weekend we may have a decision.”
As for Belmont Stakes runner-up, Classic Empire, his trainer Mark Casse said running in the Belmont Stakes is a possibility.
“Right now I’d say there’s a very good shot he’s going to run in the Belmont,” said Casse. “But we won’t make that (decision yet). We’ll see how he acts and does everything.”
If Classic Empire does run in the Belmont Stakes, Casse mentioned an equipment change could be in order, saying the removal of blinkers could keep his charge engaged. Casse believes Classic Empire, who was leading after the final turn, might have been caught off guard by Cloud Computing’s late surge.
“If I could do it all over again, the only thing I would do differently is I would take the blinkers off him. I’m not so sure how much he saw that horse coming,” said Casse. “He dug back in, but the other horse had some momentum on him, and if you watch him going on out, he took off again.”
The dream of a Triple Crown winner is over for this year. Cloud Computing stormed the backstretch of the 2017 Preakness Stakes to beat Classic Empire in a staggering upset. The 12/1 underdog bested the 2/1 second choice to finish with a time of 1:55.98, which happens to be the fastest time in five years.
Always Dreaming took the field out with a fantastic break from the gate, and dragged Classic Empire with him in to the first corner. Cloud Computing sat in third with 45/1 longshot Term of Art trailing in fourth. Nothing changed as Always Dreaming, a 6/5 favorite, ran out in front with Classic Empire shadowing him on the outside. The top-four remain unchanged for almost the entire race.
Everything changed drastically in the 2017 Preakness at the top of the final turn when Always Dreaming faded out of nowhere. He’d eventually finish eighth, but leave the door wide open for a surging Classic Empire who looked to have regained his championship form. The 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner was well on pace, but Cloud Computing came on strong and managed to outwork his opponent to win by a neck.
At 12/1, Cloud Computing was worth a strong $28.80, $8.60 and $6.00 across the board. Classic Empire delivered $4.40 and $4.00 in second while Senior Investment was a big payday for whomever backed him at 30/1 with a $10.20 payout.
Trianer Chad Brown admitted that running Cloud Computing on a lengthy rest in the 2017 Preakness after he skipped the Kentucky Derby was part of the long-term strategy, despite the fact that this may upset racing fans. “I’m not going to dispute the fact that I brought in a fresh horse as part of our strategy,” Brown said. “Our horse is very talented, too. Classic Empire and Always Dreaming are two outstanding horses and our strategy was, if we were going to ever beat them, let’s take them on two weeks’ rest when we have six, and it worked.”
As for Always Dreaming, it simply wasn’t his day. The three weeks he has to regroup for the Belmont Stakes may very well give him the recovery he needs to be a winner. But we’ll see. The 2017 Preakness may be a tad disappointing, but the Belmont could very well be a revenge song for Always Dreaming. It’s also apparent that Chad Brown thinks that the 1 1/2 mile distance would be too much for Cloud Computing. So there’s that.
Stonestreet Lexington Stakes (G3) winner Senior Investment put in his final work at Keeneland in preparation for the Preakness Stakes (G1). Senior Investment was ridden by jockey Channing Hill, under the watchful eye of trainer Kenny McPeek. They would be timed completing the five-furlong work in 1:02 and would gallop out to six furlongs in a time of 1:14. The final time was satisfactory after things got off to a slow start with early fractions of :13 and :25 2/5.
“It was just a maintenance work. Good gallop out,” said McPeek.
“He went off good. Everything was super solid. Nice and normal—just an everyday move. He came home good,” said Hill. Hill was on top of Senior Investment when he won the Lexington Stakes and also rode him to a sixth-place finish in the Louisiana Derby (G2).
“He’s just such a cool guy. His mentality gets him a long way. He’s just so calm and relaxed. He does anything you ask him to, and he loves running by horses,” continued Hill. “He was great getting to the quarter pole. Once we lost our company, he stayed on business, but I think he prefers chasing someone down. We’re going into this race good and hopefully we can upset some people.”
Senior Investment was purchased by McPeek at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale for $95,000. In eight career starts, he has won three and earned a shade over $207,080. Senior Investment is bred by Dixiana Farms.
After delivering some monster ratings in the Kentucky Derby, NBC will look to continue building momentum with its 2017 Preakness Stakes coverage.
There’s no doubt that NBC Sports has been pivotal in growing interest in Thoroughbred racing. They’ve done a masterful job of building multiple platforms for viewers to watch both at home and on-the-go. The 2017 Kentucky Derby drew 16.4 million viewers, which is the highest mark attained since 1989. They will hope for big numbers at the upcoming Preakness as well.
2017 Preakness Stakes Coverage Schedule
Friday, May 19th – Black Eyed Susan Stakes (3pm EST on NBCSN)
Saturday, May 20th – Preakness Stakes Coverage (2:30pm EST on NBCSN)
Saturday, May 20th – 142nd Preakness Stakes (5pm EST on NBC)
NBC Sports will also provide bonus Preakness Stakes coverage through their online portals. Fans can access the NBC’s All Access page for more in-depth analysis of the race, along with online broadcasts for the preliminary races as well. This will include breakdowns from various commentators using replays.
The highlight of the Saturday broadcast aside from the 142nd Preakness Stakes will be a feature on trainer Todd Pletcher and another on jockey John Velazquez, the duo entrusted with handling Always Dreaming. The seven-time Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Trainer has a pair of Kentucky Derby victories and two Belmont Stakes wins, but hasn’t finished better than third in the Preakness Stakes. And that was way back in 2000 with Impeachment. This will be a big Saturday for Pletcher as he hopes to complete the set.
The team that usually brings you the action will be on hand to deliver the Preakness Stakes coverage as well. The coordinating producer of NBC’s horse racing coverage is Rob Hyland, who has been a veteran of the sport since 2001. The Preakness Stakes is directed by Sunday Night Football and NBC Sports’ horse racing director, Drew Esocoff. The coverage on NBCSN is produced by Billy Matthews and directed by Kaare Numme. The executive producer of NBC Sports and NBCSN is Sam Flood, who has produced 14 Triple Crown races for the network.
No, “instant action” is not the name of one of the contenders from the 2017 Preakness Stakes draw. Instead it’s what can best describe the drama that will occur in the gates when Always Dreaming shacks up right next to Classic Empire to begin the race. They’re also – not surprisingly – the top two choices of the oddsmakers.
Always Dreaming will be the 4/5 favorite, a number that was delivered to him on Tuesday evening and didn’t change thanks to a favorable 2017 Preakness Stakes draw. Likewise, Classic Empire slotted in as the 3/1 second choice earlier this week and stayed that way after the posts were announced.
Lookin At Lee is probably the biggest benefactor of the 2017 Preakness Stakes draw after pulling the ninth gate. He will run as a strong 10/1 option on the board and try to prove that his runner-up finish in the Kentucky Derby was no fluke.
Flanking him will be Conquest Mo Money, a new shooter to the Triple Crown who will start on the outside as a 15/1 outside shot.
The most curious decision was to make Cloud Computing a 12/1 third choice. I expect that to change. He finished third in the Wood Memorial and second in the Gotham but hasn’t run all that well. He’s getting even better odds than Gunnevera, who is a 15/1 longshot out of the sixth post.
The rest of the longshots include Multiplier, Hence, Term of Art and Senior Investment.
Notable Wins: Cecil B. DeMille Stakes, G3 (11/27/16)
Term of Art broke his maiden at Santa Anita and then entered the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Nov. 5 over the same track and finished 9th at 90-1 odds. Trainer Doug O’Neill brought him right back Nov. 27 and he rallied from off the pace to win the 1-mile Cecil B. DeMille (G3) at Del Mar in a race that was rained off the turf and moved onto a good main track. He’s winless in four starts as a 3-year-old. Term of Art made the cross-country trip to Pimlico Tuesday and had a jog around the track. He took his first gallop over the surface today, and he’ll wear blinkers for the first time in the Preakness.
Despite his strong breeding by 2-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow, Term of Art has seemingly been outclassed in four graded stakes races since. He finished 4th in the Robert B. Lewis behind Royal Mo, who was scheduled to run in the Preakness but suffered a career-ending injury in the past week. Term of Art finished 7th in the Santa Anita Derby, running dead last for a mile and failing to make a bid in a slower race and stretch run.
Trainer Doug O’Neill says they are going to “roll the dice” with a horse he believes has classic-type ability. But Term of Art is another late-running big long shot that will need to run the race of a lifetime to make the money and factor into the Preakness Stakes.