July 15, 2024

Twilight Gleaming returns in Palisades; Beaumont concludes Road to Kentucky Oaks

Twilight Gleaming with Irad Ortiz riding wins the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Del Mar (Photo by Horsephotos)

Keeneland’s Sunday feature, the $400,000 Beaumont (G3), serves as the final points opportunity on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. The other stakes, the $200,000 Palisades S., will also garner plenty of attention as the comeback spot for Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) heroine Twilight Gleaming.

Palisades S. – Race 7 (4:12 p.m. ET)

The Wesley Ward-trained Twilight Gleaming seeks her third straight score versus males, with her Breeders’ Cup coup preceded by the Aug. 7 Prix de la Vallee d’Auge at Deauville. The Stonestreet Stables runner takes the blinkers off in the 5 1/2-furlong Palisades, which could set her up for another tilt at Royal Ascot. Last summer, her high speed nearly carried her to victory in the Queen Mary (G2), but she was run down late and relegated to second.

Stablemate Kaufymaker, third in the Juvenile Turf Sprint, also launches her three-year-old campaign here. Unlike Twilight Gleaming, Kaufymaker has experience on the Keeneland turf, as the runner-up in the Indian Summer S. at this trip. The respective third and fifth from the Indian Summer, Circle Back Jack and Pure Panic, need to improve to reverse form.

Slipstream, the other Breeders’ Cup alumnus, was sixth on the stretch-out in the Juvenile Turf (G1) over a mile. The Christophe Clement pupil previously captured the six-furlong Futurity (G3) at Belmont Park, and might find this on the sharp side. Conversely, Gulfstream winners Classicstateofmind and No Nay Franklin exit five-furlong tallies. While Classicstateofmind has shown plenty of dash to go wire-to-wire, No Nay Franklin rallied from off the pace and could enjoy the extra half-furlong.

Beaumont (G3) – Race 8 (4:44 p.m. ET)

As an about seven-furlong test, the Beaumont offers just a few points toward the Kentucky Oaks, on the 10-4-2-1 scale. But three principal entrants – Matareya, Gina Romantica, and Radio Days – are early Oaks nominees.

Godolphin’s homebred Matareya most recently ran away with a six-furlong allowance at Fair Grounds in a sprightly 1:08.98. The Brad Cox sophomore was rebounding after a pair of seconds in the Fern Creek S. at Churchill Downs (to Marissa’s Lady) and a one-mile allowance at Oaklawn Park (to Secret Oath). The evidence so far suggests that she’s a one-turn artist.

Radio Days, a $750,000 Gun Runner half-sister to multiple Grade 1-winning turf miler Bowies Hero, surely looked like a two-turn performer in embryo when taking her first two sprint starts for Shug McGaughey. Her staying-on second in the Forward Gal (G3) renewed the impression, but Radio Days faded to a poor fourth around Aqueduct’s one-turn mile in the Busher. The Beaumont should tell us more about her preferred trip.

Gina Romantica, a $1.025 million Keeneland September yearling, lived up to 9-10 favoritism in her unveiling at Tampa Bay Downs. Trained by Chad Brown for Peter Brant, the Into Mischief filly is a half-sister to Grade 1 hero Gift Box and Grade 2 scorers Stonetastic and Special Forces. She could be the next to reach the graded podium.

Ward’s Chi Town Lady is the best of those not engaged in the Oaks. A sharp debut winner here last spring, she has not raced since her troubled fourth in the Oct. 29 Myrtlewood S. Chi Town Lady proved her stakes class by prevailing in Saratoga’s Bolton Landing S. on turf. Lady Scarlet just dominated the Cicada S. at Aqueduct, Majestic d’Oro aired in a Turfway Park allowance, and Reagan’s Decision was a troubled third to Matareya in her latest.