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Grade 1 Weekend at Belmont for WPT

Twilight Eclipse winning the 2014 Mac Diarmida Stakes at Gulfstream

September 26, 2014 · By Erin Birkenhauer · Share

Twilight Eclipse is a very accomplished racehorse, having set a world record for a mile and a half, won four graded stakes, and hit the board in four grade on events. In Saturday’s $600,000 Joe Hirsch Invitational (G1) at Belmont he tries for the elusive grade one win.

The winner of the Joe Hirsch receives an automatic berth into the $3,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) on November 1 at Santa Anita. Twilight Eclipse was a fast closing sixth in last year’s running of the Turf after a less than ideal trip.

The 5-year-old gelded son of Purim comes into the Hirsch following a third place finish in the Sword Dancer (G1) and a second place finish in the Man O’War (G1) earlier this summer. Both races were won by Graham Motion trainee Main Sequence, so Twilight Eclipse is definitely looking to turn the tables this weekend.


Watch the Sword Dancer:


“Twilight Eclipse ran a lot better in the Breeders’ Cup last year than it looks on paper,” said WPT Chief Operating Officer Tom Bellhouse. “He’s never won over the Belmont turf course, but has run two really solid races over it, including a second in the Man O’War last summer. He definitely prefers firm turf. We had some rain here in New York yesterday, but I feel pretty good about the prospects of having a firm course tomorrow. Tom (Albertrani) is very bullish about our chances. This horse is not the world’s greatest shipper, so we love having the ability to walk him over to the paddock from his stall. Main Sequence has nailed us at the wire the last two times, so we’re going to try and get the jump on them turning for home.”

The Hirsch is race 9 with post time at 5:16 ET. Twilight Eclipse breaks from the rail under regular rider Jose Lezcano.

Earlier in Belmont’s “Super Saturday” card, our 4-year-old Congrats filly Toasting seeks her first graded stakes win in the $400,000 Beldame Invitational (G1). She’s three for seven at Belmont and is coming off a huge win in the Sky Beauty Stakes over the strip earlier in the month. Like Twilight Eclipse, she’s also trained by Tom Albertrani.

A two time stakes winner, Toasting has hit the board in five graded stakes, including the Frizette, Black Eyed Susan, Mother Goose, Comely, and Seaway Stakes. Her last win pushed career earnings past the half a million dollar mark.


Watch the Sky Beauty Stakes:


“We’re coming back in less than three weeks in a grade one which is a bit unconventional, but when this filly is right she tells me,” said Albertrani. “She’s in good form right now and has run super at Belmont in the past. I’ve never seen her appetite this strong and her this full of energy.”

The Beldame is race 5 with post time at 3:00 ET. Toasting breaks from post 2 under Javier Castellano.

Best of luck to our Partners!