Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (Grade II) winner Twilight Gleaming (IRE) stumbled leaving the gate but quickly recovered and scored a front-running head victory over Devine Charger at odds of 1-5 in Saturday night’s third running of the $114,500 Mamzelle Overnight Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, the featured event on an 11-race Downs After Dark card before 14,627 fans at Churchill Downs.
Ridden by Tyler Gaffalione and trained by Wesley Ward, Stonestreet Stables’ Twilight Gleaming (IRE) clocked five furlongs on firm turf in :58.22.
Breaking from post position No. 5 in the field of 11, Twilight Gleaming (IRE) went to her knees when the gates opened but only lost a length to her rivals and rapidly went to the front – her customary running style. Racing from the two-path into the turn, she clocked the first quarter mile in :22.35 had a one length advantage over Artos (IRE), who was chasing just off Twilight Gleaming (IRE)’s right hip. She opened up a 1 ½-length advantage at the top of the stretch and then, after a half-mile in :45.88, desperately held off a rallying Devine Charger and Artos (IRE), who were separated for the place by a scant nose.
Twilight Gleaming (IRE) paid $2.60, $2.40 and $2.20. Devine Charger, at odds of 31-1 under Brian Hernandez Jr., returned $13.20 and $7.60. Artos (IRE), with Julien Leparoux up at 12-1, paid $4.40.
Majestic d’Oro, Boxing Day, Sunday Grace, Tizplenty, Margie’s Kitchen, Trobairitz, 5-1 second choice Mystic Eyes and Street Tapper completed the order of finish. Royal County was scratched.
The victory was worth $55,366 and increased Twilight Gleaming (IRE)’s earnings to $721,867 with a record of 7-4-3-0.
The Mamzelle was her second start of the year. She made her 3-year-old debut last month in the $200,000 Palisades at Keeneland where she was narrowly defeated as the 4-5 favorite by Slipstream. As a 2-year-old she placed in the Group 2 Queen Mary at Royal Ascot before winning the Prix de la Vallee d’Auge at Deauville and $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (GII) against males at Del Mar.
“We’ll talk things over but I’d say sending her back to Royal Ascot would be a logical next step,” Ward said.
Twilight Gleaming (IRE) is a daughter of National Defense (GB) out of the Dansili (GB) mare Thames Pageant (GB) and was bred in Ireland by Pier House Stud.
Tyler Gaffalione (jockey, Twilight Gleaming, winner) – “We got away just a step slow. She got to the front pretty easily after that and I had to ask her a bit mid-stretch but she responded well. I worked her the other week and she got over the course well so I had confidence she’d run well tonight.”
Wesley Ward (trainer, Twilight Gleaming, winner) – “Tyler (Gaffalione) said she stumbled a little bit going out of the gate but she was able to establish things on the front end. The Palisades was her first race without blinkers but I thought she was able to relax better without them. We’ll talk things over but I’d say sending her back to Royal Ascot would be a logical next step.”