Twilight Eclipse Defends Title in W.L. McKnight
He took the lead and that was that. After dictating the early pace, Twilight Eclipse cruised home under Jose Lezcano to defend his title the W.L. McKnight Handicap at Calder Racecourse. Dispatched as the heavy favorite, the gelded son of Purim strolled under the finish line seven lengths clear, completing 12 furlongs in 2:35 3/5 on the drying-out fast track.
Upon hearing that the race was washed off the turf and moved to the main track, the decision to remain entered was easy.
"Things worked out today," WPT Chief Operating Officer Tom Bellhouse said. "We thought all along that he would adapt to the dirt. He trains like a monster on the dirt, but you don't know until you actually run in the race. He ran up at Belmont once on the dirt as a three-year-old and was a little green, but today to see this type of performance, it gets us excited for the future. We came from the Breeders’ Cup and gave him a little extra time off. Then to run like this and win back-to-back McKnights is just a thrill for the Partners.”
With the $75,175 payday, Twilight Eclipse’s career earnings now stand at $592,786 from a 14-5-2-1 record. He set a world record for 1 1/2 miles on the turf in the 2013 Pan American Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
Trained by Tom Albertrani, Twilight Eclipse is pointing for the $200,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2) on February 15 at Gulfstream as a prep for the $5,000,000 Dubai Sheema Classic on March 29.