After six grade one placings, Twilight Eclipse finally notched his first grade one win in the $400,000 Man O’War Stakes (G1) on May 9 at Belmont Park. Off as the second choice in the compact field of marathon turf runners, our 6-year-old gelding had a dream trip, sitting just off pacesetter War Dancer before edging clear to prevail by a neck.
The son of Purim and grandson of Dynaformer tries to make it two grade one wins in a row in Saturday’s $1,000,000 Knob Creek Manhattan Stakes (G1), the race just before American Pharoah tries for the Triple Crown. He’s been installed the morning line favorite in the field of 11.
“He’s much stronger this year,” said trainer Tom Albertrani. “In terms of muscle tone and weight, I’ve never seen the horse look better. He came out of the Man O’War in top form and has been kicking and squealing every day this week, he feels so good.”
The Man O’War win was especially sweet for West Point Chief Operating Officer Tom Bellhouse, who has a very special place in his heart for Twilight Eclipse. Tom’s been at almost every one of his races and often tears up at the thought of his favorite horse. Needless to say Tommy was grinning from ear to ear when he walked Twilight Eclipse into the winner’s circle at his cherished Belmont Park.
“I feel so good about his chances on Saturday,” said Bellhouse. “He’ a flat out beast these days, the king of the Albertrani shedrow.”
A win on Saturday will push Twilight Eclipse’s earnings past the $2 million mark.
The gelding’s tight knit group of Partners couldn’t be more excited about the possibility standing in the winner’s circle with their multiple grade one winner. A visit to the champagne room could also be in the cards for the second time in one month. It’s been an amazing journey with Twilight Eclipse and we are incredibly thankful for him and his Partners.
Post time for the Manhattan (race 10) is 5:46 ET. Twilight Eclipse breaks from post 2 under the nation’s leading jockey Javier Castellano.