Twisted Tom 2017 Belmont Stakes

New Shooter Twisted Tom Enters Belmont

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With Always Dreaming and Cloud Computing withdrawn from contention, the door is wide open for any number of contenders to take the 1 1/2 mile challenge at Belmont Park.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.

Cloud Computing 2017 Preakness

Cloud Computing Upsets 2017 Preakness

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.



2017 Preakness Stakes coverage

NBC Ready for Preakness Stakes Coverage

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.


2017 Preakness Stakes draw

Instant Action in 2017 Preakness Stakes Draw

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.

2017 Preakness Stakes Draw

Post Horse Jockey Trainer Odds
1 Multiplier Joel Rosario Brendan Walsh 30-1
2 Cloud Computing Javier Castellano Chad Brown 12-1
3 Hence Florent Geroux Steve Asmussen 20-1
4 Always Dreaming John Velazquez Todd Pletcher 4-5
5 Classic Empire Julian Leparoux Mark Casse 3-1
6 Gunnevera Mike Smith Antonio Sano 15-1
7 Term of Art Jose Ortiz Doug O’Neill 30-1
8 Senior Investment Channing Hill Ken McPeek 30-1
9 Lookin At Lee Corey Lanerie Steve Asmussen 10-1
10 Conquest Mo Money Jorge Carreno Miguel Hernandez 15-1
2017 Preakness Conquest Mo Money

Conquest Mo Money To Enter Preakness

Two new shooters have already emerged for the 2017 Preakness Stakes. Conquest Mo Money will join the fray along with Doug O’Neill’s Term of Art. The former is a legitimate contender for the title while there is more uncertainty about the latter. Fresh legs have a habit of spoiling Triple Crown bids, so this is pretty big news.

Conquest Mo Money was a bit of a curious scratch from the Kentucky Derby. The often run colt competed in four stakes races this year, finishing with a 2-2-0 record overall and generating $508,900 in earnings for the Judge Lanier Racing group that owns him. This son of Unlce Mo finished second at the Sunland Derby before heading to the Arkansas Derby where he also finished as a runner-up. The absolutely brutal homestretch, where he fended off Malagacy but wasn’t able to edge Classic Empire, was telling of how competitive Conquest Mo Money actually is.

Tom and Sandy McKenna are the leading owners in New Mexico, and have ponied up the $150,000 late entry fee for new shooters to get Conquest Mo Money in the running. Obviously, the couple is excited to be making a splash in American Classics.

“It’s a dream come true. I never thought I would be here,” Tom McKenna beamed. “Everybody dreams about it that gets in the horse business, whether you have one horse, two horses, or three horses.”

Term of Art will also enter the Preakness as a new shooter but isn’t much of a threat overall. He last ran 7th in the Santa Anita Derby just after a third place finish in the San Felipe. Even still, Term of Art is a son of Tiznow with considerable pedigree and O’Neill thinks the effort is definitely worth the gamble. “We think he’s a talented colt who deserves a chance in this big race,” O’Neill admitted. “We think he has classic-type ability and we’re going to roll the dice.”

Conquest Mo Money has a much better chance of impacting the results of the 2017 Preakness, which will run on Saturday, May 20th. His convincing showing in the Arkansas Derby is proof that he has the stones to go hoof-to-hoof with a champion. Trainer Miguel Hernandez will have his work cut out for himself to prepare this contender over the next ten days.


2017 Triple Crown Always Dreaming

Can Always Dreaming Win 2017 Triple Crown?

The lead-up to the 2017 Triple Crown was marred in mystery. No horse had a definitive edge over the other. Classic Empire held fast as the 4/1 favorite but had a rocky road along the derby trail. McCraken, Irish War Cry and many others rose to the challenge during the prep race season but never cemented themselves as a rock solid option. The only horse that seemed to be trending along the right path was Always Dreaming.

So when the 5/1 second choice in the derby was doing all the right things in the final week of prep prior to the first leg of the 2017 Triple Crown, I lobbied to back him. The bet paid off. Always Dreaming won the Kentucky Derby handedly and has now collected four straight victories by a combined winning margin of 23 1/2 lengths.

Always Dreaming’s only other stakes victory in his career was in the Florida Derby, a race he won easily while being hand ridden by John Velazquez. As my colleagues have written, Always Dreaming is already at Pimlico Racecourse and seems to be settling in quite nicely. “The race, I think, took nothing out of him. We’re happy. He bounced back almost immediately,” said Gina DePasquale, an assistant trainer to Todd Pletcher who has been part of his stable for over two decades.

People close to horse racing know that maintaining health is the most important element to winning all three legs, and the 2017 Triple Crown will be no different. California Chrome sort-of broke down by the time he arrived at the Belmont in 2014. Nyquist and Exaggerator just weren’t good enough amidst a competitive field. Others like I’ll Have Another and Big Brown have simply not been able to survive the gruelling challenge that the Triple Crown represents. Simply put, it’s not easy, which is one of the many reasons the trilogy is so special.

Two years ago, American Pharoah dazzled audiences around the world by stomping the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont fields. It was a milestone accomplishment both for the horse, his connections and the sport itself since Affirmed was the last horse to win a Triple Crown in 1978. There was growing concern that the biggest achievement possible in this sport was now unattainable given how good breeding, training and preparation was getting across the board.

That brings us to the strength of the field in this year’s 2017 Triple Crown. It’s apparent that Always Dreaming is on another level. The fact that he enters the Preakness with so much positive energy flowing around him buoys the fact that he doesn’t have that many contenders to deal with outside of himself. As long as he shows up with his best effort, he should have no problem dispatching of his rivals. And that’s fine – nobody ever remembers who strong a field is for a Triple Crown.

That could be a bigger story given how weak the 2017 Triple Crown field feels, but the fact that we could be staring at yet another historic champion is an absolutely exciting development. It’s a story that we were frankly unsure of just a few days ago. A strong run in the Preakness could set up big numbers for the Belmont, which would ultimately lead to promising outputs for thoroughbred racing, its broadcasting partners and sportsbooks around the world.

Always Dreaming, you have our attention.

2017 kentucky derby odds

2017 Kentucky Derby Odds Announced

An interesting thing happened this time last year at Churchill Downs. The race went chalk. The top four finishers were the first four choices on the betting board. With the 2017 Kentucky Derby odds being released this morning, are we in for the same fate on Saturday?

I’m not quite so sure. The oddsmakers have inserted four horses as clear cut favorites with the top option being Classic Empire, who has earned a 4/1 mark since winning the Arkansas Derby. The long time preference of horse players in the futures market is also the reigning Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner, so he’s a familiar face with a lot of experience under his saddle.

The main threats according to the 2017 Kentucky Derby odds are McCraken and Always Dreaming who share 5/1 odds. Essentially the difference boils down to what we know about each horse. McCraken has appeared vindictive since his first loss in the Blue Grass, where he finished third, and that’s the response you want from a competitor.

Always Dreaming is a different story. The colt simply seems to have mercurial talent. He won the Florida Derby without needing any urging from his jockey. The problem is that this was his only stakes race. That he wont he race so convincingly is awesome, but the fact that he’s never been challenged is a bit concerning. The benefit with Always Dreaming is that he seems destined for the longer distances.

Irish War Cry is the last of the favorites according to the 2017 Kentucky Derby odds, and he is coming off a strong performance in the Wood Memorial. There are doubts about whether he has the legs to go the 1 1/8th miles.

The full list of entrants are below and you’ll notice that the longshots start at a distant 15/1. There’s no middle ground. That’s very telling of the talent in this race. As a note, Royal Mo and Master Plan are alternates for this race but are being given 2017 Kentucky Derby odds regardless.


2017 Kentucky Derby – Saturday, May 6th at 6:46pm EST
1 1/8th Miles – 3 Year Olds – $2,000,000

Post Horse Jockey Trainer Odds
1 Lookin At Lee Corey Lanerie Steve Asmussen 20-1
2 Thunder Snow Christophe Soumillion Saeed bin Suroor 20-1
3 Fast and Accurate Channing Hill Mike Maker 50-1
4 Untrapped Ricardo Santana Jr. Steve Asmussen 30-1
5 Always Dreaming John Velazquez Todd Pletcher 5-1
6 State of Honor Jose Lezcano Mark Casse 30-1
7 Girvin Mike Smith Joe Sharp 15-1
8 Hence Florent Geroux Steve Asmussen 15-1
9 Irap Mario Gutierrez Doug O’Neill 20-1
10 Gunnevera Javier Castellano Antonio Sano 15-1
11 Battle of Midway Flavien Prat Jerry Hollendorfer 30-1
12 Sonneteer Kent Desormeaux Keith Desormeaux 50-1
13 J Boys Echo Luis Saez Dale Romans 20-1
14 Classic Empire Julian Leparoux Mark Casse 4-1
15 McCraken Brian Hernandez Jr. Ian Wilkes 5-1
16 Tapwrit Jose Ortiz Todd Pletcher 20-1
17 Irish War Cry Rajiv Maragh Graham Motion 6-1
18 Gormley Victor Espinoza John Shirreffs 15-1
19 Practical Joke Joel Rosario Chad Brown 20-1
20 Patch Tyler Gaffalione Todd Pletcher 30-1
AE Royal Mo Gary Stevens John Shirreffs 20-1
AE Master Plan John Velazquez Todd Pletcher 50-1
Girvin injury quarter crack

Girvin Suffers Quarter Crack In Hoof

2017 Kentucky Derby contender Girvin has suffered a quater crack in his right hoof. While not considered an overtly serious condition, the injury could hamper his ability to compete at full strength over the brutal distance of 1 1/4 miles in the first leg of the Triple Crown. Joe Sharp offered more details as his trainer.

“He’s very sound on it now. It’s just one of those deals where we were just monitoring it. And every quarter crack is different,” Sharp began. “This one threw us for a little bit of a turn and we expected it be routine. And obviously, the last thing I wanted to do was throw up a red flag any earlier than needed.”

Girvin was last out winning the Louisiana Derby after claiming victory in the Risen Star as well.  With 17/1 odds right now to win the derby according to the KDFW Pool 4 results, the colt essentially factors in as a bit of a longshot despite his success. The quarter crack will definitely hinder his ability to train, but Joe Sharp told the media that he would still be able to get work out of the horse in the final days leading up to the derby.

“I wanted to see how it was going to go. I wanted to see which way it was going to go before I had to get asked about what I thought if we could make it. We are planning on breezing, and as long as he’s able to breeze and come out of it well, he’ll run in the Derby. But if he’s not sound enough to make the breeze, we’re not going to go into the Derby not having breezed in two weeks.”

Unfortunately, this is an injury that Girvin has experience with. The contender has suffered a quarter crack before. “When he popped the last quarter crack, he never missed a day. He was never sore on it. He was great,” Sharp said. “The long and short of it is the quarter crack wasn’t where we wanted it. On Tuesday we weren’t happy with it. So we took him to Raul Bras at Rood & Riddle, we utilized KESMARC’s hyperbaric chamber.”

No decision has been made about how severe the quarter crack will limit Girvin but we’ll keep you updated.

Ian Wilkes McCraken

McCraken Roaring With Ian Wilkes

Everyone’s been waiting to see how McCraken responded to his first loss. The three-year-old hopeful suffered his first defeat in the 2017 Blue Grass Stakes after crushing the competition earlier this season. He’s back to work and looking brilliant, thanks in large part to the plan instilled by trainer Ian Wilkes.

McCraken went out for a five-furlong drill this week under the supervision of Ian Wilkes. The colt chewed out splits of :12, :24 3/5, and :36 2/5 in the early lengths, and closed out the session with an absolutely roaring show as he galloped out hard.

“We’ve still got another work yet,” said Ian Wilkes. “But you want to see that gallop out. He went 1:00 3/5 and then he still galloped out strong. If he didn’t gallop out good then wow, I’m behind. I think it tells you a lot about the work.”

Ian Wilkes was part of the team that trained Street Sense on route to a 2007 Kentucky Derby victory. Prior to that huge win, Street Sense was a runner-up in the Blue Grass Stakes. The loss at the derby prep race for McCraken was his first ever, and while devastating initially, the response from the horse has been astounding.

Jockey Brain Hernandez Jr. spoke about how resilient McCraken has been mentally. “All of his races prior to the Blue Grass, he always kind of just did what he wanted and beat up on horses,” Hernandez said. “It’s like a high school football player who beats up on everyone and is really, really good but when he steps up into college, the competition gets deeper.

“I think that’s what happened with McCraken that day. When he got beat, it kind of woke him up. Last week his work was great but today it showed that he can sit back there and, even though the work mate kind of spurted away from him turning for home, he was able to go by him anytime he wanted to. When it was time for him to go on, he picked it up and showed what a smart horse he is.”

McCraken will be one of the top options on the board at the 2017 Kentucky Derby, and will attempt to give Ian Wilkes his first ever win in the Triple Crown. He will mainly compete with Always Dreaming and Classic Empire, but the race to the wire is tighter this year than it’s been in recent memory.

2017 Federico Tesio Stakes Preview

Action Everyday Stars in 2017 Federico Tesio

The 2017 Federico Tesio Stakes is one of the view prep races that is pretty much designed for the Preakness Stakes. A quintet of contenders will hope to gain some momentum on the Laurel Park track this weekend, with Action Everyday serving as the key figure.

After a 4th place finish at the Gotham Stakes, Action Everyday is looking to rebound as one of the favorites in the 2017 Federico Tesio Stakes. Trainer Todd Pletcher feels that the horse has some growing up to do, both physically and mentally, making him a better fit for one of the later races in the Triple Crown.

“Action Everyday is a horse that has shown some ability and he’s also shown some immaturity,” Pletcher said. “He has been a little bit unprofessional at times in some of his races, so we felt like a little more of an incremental step probably made sense for him.

“We felt like the Tesio, from a timing standpoint, was good and the distance should suit him well. We’re optimistic that he’s got some improvement in him and that he’ll continue to sort of put things mentally together and learn how to polish his races off a little bit.”

O Dionysus will be the local choice and has run many times at Laural Park, but the 2017 Federico Tesio will be the first time he stretches out past 7 furlongs. This may be a tough distance for him to handle, and an experiment by his connections to see whether or not he’s worthy of Triple Crown consideration. He shares the same 5/2 odds as Action Everyday.

Carradine will ship in from New York after most recently placing third in the Damon Runyan. This colt will run from the outisde post for Linda Rice and is posting as the clear favorite.

Twisted Tomis being given 7/2 odds as well, making this a very tight race at the top.

Hashtag Alex is the longshot at the 2017 Federico Tesio Stakes holding 15/1 odds that will probably get even bigger on race day.

2017 Federico Tesio Stakes – Saturday, April 22nd at Laurel Park
1 1/8th Miles – 3 Year Olds – $125,000

PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 Hashtag Alex (KY) Carol Cedeno 118 John C. Servis 15/1
2 Action Everyday (KY) Trevor McCarthy 116 Todd A. Pletcher 5/2
3 Twisted Tom (NY) Feargal Lynch 122 Chad C. Brown 7/2
4 O Dionysus (MD) Jevian Toledo 122 Gary Capuano 5/2
5 Carradine (NY) Cornelio H. Velasquez 118 Linda Rice 8/5