DEL MAR, Calif.— It was an old-fashioned throw down between two extra fast Thoroughbreds Friday at Del Mar – the gray mare Leggs Galore and the young bay filly Twilight Gleaming. They hooked up out of the gate in the five-furlong turf test and ding-donged it all the way around the bend until the 3-year-old began to inch clear in the straight before going on to a half-length victory in the $104,100 Daisycutter Handicap.
The winner, a 3-year-old Irish-bred by National Defense owned by the Stonestreet Stables of Barbara Banke of Lexington, KY, was winning her fifth race in her eighth start (she was second in her other three) and earned $60,000 in the process to fatten her bankroll to $781,867. The extra quick miss had won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at the same five-furlong distance at Del Mar last November.
Twilight Gleaming is trained by Wesley Ward, who shipped her in from Saratoga for the race, then deputized west coaster Blake Heap to saddle her. She was ridden by Del Mar’s leading rider, Juan Hernandez, who won another race on the card and now has nine first through the first five days of the session.
Twilight Gleaming’s chief rival in the Daisycutter, William Sims’ Leggs Galore, hung on gamely through the stretch but was outnodded for second at the wire by the 29-1 shot Xmas Surprise, who is owned by Marsha Naify.
The fractions in the heat were :21.90, :44.91 and :56.90.
Twilight Gleaming paid $4.80, $3.60 and $2.40 across the board. Xmas Surprise returned $12.80 and $4.80 and Leggs Galore, who actually went favored in the dash at 13-10, paid $2.40 to show.
The track’s Pick Six Single Ticket Jackpot Wager carried over for the fifth consecutive day and its pool will start with $284,651 in the pot Saturday.
First post for the Saturday program, which features two excellent stakes in the Grade I Bing Crosby and the Grade II San Diego Handicap, is 2 p.m.
JUAN HERNANDEZ (Twilight Gleaming, winner) — “She broke a step slow, but she’s got speed. I kept her outside a little bit away from that speed horse inside us (Leggs Galore). But when we started to go for home, she was pulling on me; she wanted to go. She changed leads at the quarter pole and she really ran. She’s a good one.”
BLAKE HEAP, assistant trainer to WESLEY WARD (Twilight Gleaming, winner) — “I was hoping they (would) break slow. But we’re on the outside, doing what we have to do, and she’s a runner. ”
FRACTIONS: :21.90 :44.91 :56.90
The stakes win was the third of the meet for rider Hernandez, but his first in the Daisycutter. He now has 18 stakes wins at Del Mar.
The stakes win was the first of the meet for trainer Ward and his third in the Daisycutter. He now has 12 stakes wins at Del Mar.
The winning owner, Stonestreet Stables, is the nom du course for Barbara Banke of Lexington, KY.
Del Mar Press Release
Photo: Twilight Gleaming (Benoit Photo)