OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Carl R. Moore Management’s stakes-winner Twilight Blue remains possible for Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Woodward, a nine-furlong test for 3-year-olds and upward at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet.
Trainer Joe Sharp said Twilight Blue is also under consideration for the nine-furlong Grade 2 Lukas Classic and the one-mile Grade 3 Ack Ack, which are both slated for Saturday at Churchill Downs.
“We’ll see who’s running,” Sharp said. “We’re leaning towards staying home, but we haven’t made a final decision yet.”
The 4-year-old Air Force Blue colt, purchased for $45,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, has posted a record of 5-3-2-0 this year led by a last-out head score over graded stakes-placed Intrepid Heart in the 1 3/16-mile Fort Larned on August 13 at Churchill Downs.
The improving bay started his career sprinting on the turf in August 2020 at Ellis Park before shifting to the main track and graduating one month later at Churchill. Twilight Blue won 1-of-3 starts as a sophomore, prevailing from off-the-pace in a muddy allowance route last February at Oaklawn Park.
Twilight Blue has seen a marked improvement in his Beyer Speed Figures this year, garnering a career-best 97 for a prominent head score over graded-stakes winner Masqueparade in a 1 1/16-mile optional-claimer in May at Churchill. He paired that number in his next start in a gritty nose loss to multiple graded-stakes winner Fulsome on June 25 at the same distance and track.
“He’s been an ultra-consistent type of horse. When we stretched him out past a mile he seemed to get even better,” Sharp said. “He’s just matured and grown and filled out a little bit physically. He’s got a great attitude and hates to lose.
“Masqueparade and Intrepid Heart are nice horses, so he’s definitely hooked some nice horses,” Sharp added. “But he’s also carved out his conditions. This would be deeper water, but at some point we’ll have to try it.”
Twilight Blue boasts a strong grass pedigree being out of the multiple stakes-placed Rahy mare Lily the Pink. His third dam, Aletta Maria, produced multiple Grade 1-winners on turf Cetewayo and Dynaforce.
Sharp said despite the turfy pedigree, Twilight Blue will remain on the main track for the time being.
“When Carl and I bought him as a yearling we were thinking turf sprinter, and he’s ended up being route on the dirt,” Sharp said. “It’s not that we’d never try it again, but right now this is working so we don’t want to mess with it too much.”
Twilight Blue breezed five-eighths in 1:02.20 Saturday over muddy going at the Churchill Downs training center. Should he ship to New York, the probable Woodward field includes, Informative [Uriah St. Lewis], Law Professor [Rob Atras], Life Is Good [Todd Pletcher] and Thomas Shelby [David Jacobson].
NYRA Press Office
Photo: Twilight Blue captures his firsts stakes victory in the Fort Larned (Coady Photography)
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