Twisted Tom powers to his second straight victory in the Albany

Friday, August 25th, 2017

NYRA/Arianna Spadoni

By Bill Heller

With a breath-taking four-wide sweep around the far turn, Cobra Farm, R R Partners and Head of Plains Partners’ three-year-old gelding Twisted Tom made the lead under Javier Castellano and drew away to a 4 ½ length, second consecutive stakes victory in the 40th running of the mile and an eighth $250,000 Albany Stakes, the highlight of New York-bred Showcase Day at Saratoga Friday. He did so as the even-money favorite in the field of six despite carrying high weight of 124 pounds, spotting five pounds to Pat On the Back and seven pounds to his other four opponents.

“I’m really proud of this horse,” Twisted Tom’s trainer Chad Brown said. “He had a really tough trip. He was very wide on the last turn and he was giving pounds to everyone in the field.”

Can You Diggit, who was 4-1 under Jose Ortiz, finished second, a length and three-quarters ahead of 6-1 Pat On the Back and Dylan Davis. Broken Engagement, the 2-1 second choice ridden by Paco Lopez, finished another four lengths back in fourth.

NYRA/Coglianese photo

Dr. William Wilmot and Dr. Joan Taylor bred Twisted Tom, a son of Creative Cause out of Tiffany Twisted by Thunder Gulch who was trained in his first two starts by George Weaver, finishing fourth on dirt and then first by a neck with Lasix added on grass in his first two races in maiden company.

Twisted Tom made his first start for Brown on turf, finishing sixth in his final start as a two-year-old.

As a three-year-old, he’s been nothing short of sensational, winning an allowance race and then the open Private Terms and Federico Tesio Stakes at Laurel Park, the second on a sloppy track.

Brown decided to take a shot with Twisted Tom in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, the mile-and-a-half final leg of the Triple Crown.  It was a race Brown wish he never tried as Twisted Tom clipped heels on the first turn and finished a distant sixth.

“He got a bad break in the Belmont where a horse clipped him from behind and really cut him bad,” Brown said. “We’re really lucky it wasn’t a more serious injury.”

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

Brown gave Twisted Tom plenty of time to recover and he returned off a six-week layoff to capture the $160,000 New York Derby at Finger Lakes by a half-length over Broken Engagement as the 3-5 favorite.

Twisted Tom’s success made him the high-weight for the Albany. Breaking from the four post, he got away fourth as D’Yer Mak’er, who was adding blinkers and went off at 37-1 under Tyler Gaffalione, took a length and a half lead in a :24.04 first quarter-mile. Broken Engagement raced in second. D’Yer Mak’er stretched his lead to four lengths, hitting the half in :48.41 as Pat On the Back moved up to third and Twisted Tom raced on the outside in fourth.

D’Yer Maker took a two-length lead, but the pack closed in around the far turn with Broken Engagement two-wide, Pat On the Back three-wide and Twisted Tom four-wide.

When the horses straightened out at the head of the stretch, Twisted Tom said “Good-bye.” He opened up two lengths and then really poured it on late, winning as much the best.

“It was a great performance,” Castellano said. “I just enjoyed the ride.”

Brown said, “The horse ran terrific.”

Twisted Tom is now five-for-seven on dirt and one-for-two on turf with total earnings topping a half million dollars.

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