Twilight Eclipse Could Stamp Ticket to Dubai in Mac Diarmida
On Saturday, older turf star Twilight Eclipse will race in honor of eight horses killed in a barn fire last week in Georgetown, Kentucky. The horses belonged to Clara Fenger and John Langemeier, the connections West Point Thoroughbreds purchased the Purim gelding from back in June 2012. Click here to read a touching eulogy written by Dr. Fenger.
Twilight Eclipse begins his 5-year-old season in the $200,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream following a wire to wire title defense in the W.L. McKnight Handicap (G2) on December 28 at Calder. We hope to use the race as a springboard to the $5,000,000 Dubai Sheema Classic on March 29.
Trainer Tom Albertrani is bullish on the morning line favorite chances. “We’ve had this race circled as our 2014 starting point for several months,” he said. “He’s training exactly the same way he did going into the McKnight and he ran huge that day. I really think he can compete with the best turf horses in the world. We got pretty unlucky in the Breeders’ Cup as he was too far back early. He came running and didn’t get beat very far at all.”
Will Twilight Eclipse be on the lead like he was in the McKnight? Albertrani expects him to be close to the pace, but will ultimately leave the decision up to veteran jockey Jose Lezcano.
“He’s versatile,” continued Albertrani. “This horse’s whole key is his stamina. He’s a mile and a half horse who could run all day. Jose got to know him in the McKnight and will put him into a good position, it’s a long race.”
“Our team and Partners couldn’t be more excited,” said WPT Chief Operating Officer Tom Bellhouse. “I’m thrilled to be down here in Florida and am looking forward to being at the races on Saturday with the majority of Twilight Eclipse’s Partners. We’ve started making our preliminary travel arrangements for Dubai World Cup night, as the big horse is giving us all the signs that he’s sitting on another big effort.”
The Mac Diarmida is race 10 with a 5:03 ET post time. Twilight Eclipse breaks from the six hole in the field of nine.