As I write this it was just confirmed that Chad Brown won't be bringing his Preakness-winning charge Cloud Computing to the Belmont. I hate when the Preakness winner skips the next leg, but I have to admit that it is probably the right move for the sake of the horse. Brown isn't going to miss out on the fun of the Belmont, though, and he is bringing an interesting runner. This colt shares some traits with Cloud Computing - he doesn't have loads of experience but shows great promise and has worked out very well. If anything, this colt is even more polished than the Preakness winner is at this point. He hasn't won against the same level of competition that that colt did, but he has more experience winning. Could Brown win two legs of the Triple Crown with two different horses and deliver big paydays both days?
Last race: The Federico Tesio at Laurel is more of a Preakness prep than a Belmont one, typically, but this horse won that race and is now here. He was one of two horses to set the pace. It was slow, but the track was sloppy, so it was still hard work, and the other early leader faded to last by the wire. This colt just kept going, though, and wound up winning by nearly three lengths in a strong performance. Now, the Tesio isn't a graded stakes race any more, and he beat no horse of note, so we can't attach too much significance to the race. Still, on a visual basis he passed the test.
Prior experience: The colt ran three times as a two year old. He was underwhelming in his first maiden attempt at Saratoga, finishing fourth. He won next time out at Belmont and then finished out the year with a disappointing sixth in an allowance race at Aqueduct. He visibly matured over the winter, though, and has been a much more consistent horse since. He won an allowance at Aqueduct at the end of January and then won a stakes race at Laurel to prep for the Tesio. So he is unbeaten at three, though in just three starts.
Trainer: Chad Brown can obviously win Triple Crown races - he just won the Preakness with Cloud Computing. His focus on the Classics is relatively new for him, but high-level success is far from a new thing - he has won eight Breeders' Cup races, with seven coming on turf where he has typically really done well. He's the reigning Eclipse Award winner for top trainer and is off to a good start on an attempt to win another.
Jockey: Javier Castellano now has half as many Triple Crown race wins as he does Eclipse Awards for best jockey in the country. His win aboard Cloud Computing in the Preakness followed his win in the same race in 2006 with Bernardini. It was a masterful ride, and he has a great relationship with Chad Brown that benefits them both greatly, so it is no surprise at all that Castellano slid into this saddle as soon as it was confirmed that Cloud Computing wouldn't be in the Preakness. He's just really, really good, and he is another reason to keep an eye on this young colt in this spot.
Breeding: Twisted Tom is a son of Creative Cause, who was third in the Preakness in 2012. He is a new sire, so Twisted Tom is his most successful offspring to date. Creative Cause is a son of Giant's Causeway, who was named European Horse of the Year in 2000 and was second in the Breeders' Cup Classic in his only North American start. Twisted Tom's damsire, Thunder Gulch, was the Derby and Belmont winner in 1995, and he sired Preakness and Belmont winner Point Given and was the damsire of Breeders' Cup Classic winner Bayern. The breeding here is solid.
Odds: The oddsmakers at MyBookie are not believers in this horse. They have him at +2500 to win the race, which has him ahead of only J Boys Echo. Brown is hot, he is very comfortable at Belmont, he likes this horse and his chances of handling the distance, and he just won the Preakness with another lightly-raced horse. You could argue that there is some value here. I'm certainly not leaving him out of my exotics.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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