twisted ride master of the photo finish

By Dick Jerardi

Twisted Ride has won nine races in his career. Three have been by a nose, one by a head, another by a half-length. Two of the 5-year-old Pennsylvania bred’s losses were by a head and a neck.

No race better exemplified Twisted Ride’s spirit than his win on Belmont Stakes Day at Parx. More than half the 7-furlong race was spent dueling for the lead with the very accomplished Uncle Ernie. When he finally shook Uncle Ernie at the top of the stretch, there was immediate danger from Twisted Ride’s stablemate Bourbon Music who sat a dream trip just off the battling leaders.

Watch enough races and you could predict what was about to happen. Horses tire after duels and get run down by horses that did not use energy early in races. In fact Bourbon Music did pass Twisted Ride inside the final 100 yards, but then he came in and made contact with Twisted Ride. That, Twisted Ride’s regular rider Andy Hernandez said, was a mistake. Twisted Ride, loving the competition, dug in and, just before the wire, re-passed Bourbon Music to win by a nose.

“He’s real game,” the gelding’s trainer Michael Moore said. “He’s a tough horse. If you’re going to give him a chance to win, he’s going to try to beat you, that’s for sure…If you keep it close, he’ll beat you.”

Nearly the exact same thing happened on May 13 when Twisted Ride won the duel and then was coming back at the venerable Beren at the finish. He lost by a head, but there was no mistaking the will to win.

Twisted Ride has terrific early speed, but, unlike so many speed horses who fade under sustained pressure, this horse seems to revel in it.

“A lot of time on the turn, he’ll be dueling with another horse and you think he might be in trouble,” Moore said. “And somehow he keeps going.”

That win on Belmont Stakes Day was No. 300 in Moore’s career. That it came from Twisted Ride who is second only to Brother Chub in earnings for the stable seemed appropriate. Twisted Ride has won $566,008 in his career, $474,290 for Moore who took over a few races into the horse’s career.

The horse has been worse than third just six times in 24 starts. And given that he is always under pressure in his races, Twisted Ride has definitely done it the hard way for owners Kasey K Racing Stable (Bob and Sue Krangel), Michael Day and Final Turn Racing Stable.

Moore’s top earner Brother Chub was very similar in style and nose for the wire. The final four wins of his 18-win career came by a head, head, head and a nose.

“A horse like Twisted Ride, every time he runs, he’s going to try,” Moore said. “You know, unless something is wrong, he ain’t giving it up.”

When somebody asked me recently about Twisted Ride, I said he was the Pa. bred Parx-based sprinting version of 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed. If he gets to the front in the stretch, good luck getting by him.

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