Twilight Gleaming Ready for Franklin Rematch With Caravel

October 13, 2023

Twilight Gleaming after her Giant’s Causeway win April 15 at Keeneland (JennyPhoto/Past The Wire)

Keeneland Barn Notes

LEXINGTON, Ky.— Not often does one see two Breeders’ Cup winners squaring off in a Grade 2 event, but that is what is on tap here Sunday afternoon for the 27th running of the $350,000 Franklin for fillies and mares going 5½ furlongs on the turf.

Heading the field of nine is defending race champion Caravel, who three weeks after her victory in the Franklin would win the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1), and Twilight Gleaming (IRE), winner of the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2).

The two met in last year’s Franklin in which Twilight Gleaming finished 2¾ lengths behind Caravel in fourth.

Trainer Wesley Ward is bringing Stonestreet Stables’ Twilight Gleaming into the Franklin off a similar schedule as last year: a start in the Daisycutter (L) at Del Mar at the end of July. Twilight Gleaming won that race last year but not this year.

“That was one of those where you have the big favorite and anything can happen … and it did,” Ward said. “She got sawed off (on the turn) and then had to pull up at the eighth pole and that was it.”

Since returning to Keeneland, Twilight Gleaming has had four works. Her most recent breeze on Oct. 7 has Ward looking forward to the Franklin.

“She had an unbelievable breeze the other day,” Ward said of the 5-furlong work in 1:00.80 over the grass. “She has always been a good work horse, and I worked her with Playlist, who is emerging into a good horse.

“It was visually impressive. Johnny V (John Velazquez) was on Playlist and Julio (Garcia) on Twilight Gleaming. Johnny was niggling on Playlist and Julio was sitting still on Twilight Gleaming. That is what you want to see going against Caravel.”

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