Twilight Derby (Grade 2)- $200.000 Purse
SA- For Three Year Olds
One Mile and One Eighth on the Turf
October 18, 2020
Three year olds who don’t want to take on older chances will get one of their decreasing opportunities to do so in the Grade 2 Twilight Derby, a nine furlong turf event that first debuted in 2005. The purse for this race has never been all that high given its Grade, starting off as $150.000, and only increasing to its current level in 2014. Last year, the race was won by Sunlander and while he has continued to run in top races, including many Grade 1’s, he has not won since. Seven Years is the most notable past winner, doing so eight years ago. Eight is also the number of horses in the race, and here is a look at them.
#1- Winchester (Maxmillion Farm, ridden by Ru Fuentes)- There is currently a 0% chance of rain for this race, and that is welcome news for Winchester since he has had to run on soft turf in each of his last two races. Neither went well, but prior to that, he was the winner in the $150.000 Cinema Stakes. There will be no excuses now, and he also might like that this race is a little shorter.
#2- Raleigh In Doubt (Ekli Stable, ridden by K J Desormeaux)- His last six races has seen him rotate wins and third place finishes, and if that pattern continues then he should be the one to beat here. Either way, it is a streak that shows him to be a consistent horse, and his last three races have been at the graded level with the win coming in the La Jolla Handicap, and it was with Desormeaux in the saddle.
#3- Beach Clown (Langley Farms, ridden by J J Hernandez)- Makes his stake debut after winning his last two. That first win was his maiden win, in a four horse maiden claimer at DMR that he ended up winning by five. He followed that up three weeks later in an optional claimer, showing improvement in speed and instilling stronger confidence in him from the trainer. Here, he will get a much earned test, and if he runs like he did last month, he can come out on top.
#4- Mr Scratch (Nakamura Stables, ridden by M E Smith)- He will be making his 11th career start, so he does not always live up to his name, and scratch. However, he has been a horse that has struggled to step up into graded stakes, with one failure leading to the $40.000 sale from D J C Racing Stables to Nakamura. In this new barn, that aspect has not improved, as evidenced by the Grade 3 Turf Monster Handicap, but he has two ungraded wins to his credit.
#5- Kill Or Be Killed (Mb Stables, ridden by T J Pereira)- This is a gelding by Commanding that is looking to make a name for himself after breaking his maiden in his last start, a five length win here at SA three weeks ago. The effort was probably better than his 90 SRF would seem to indicate, and that is what brings the confidence to enter him here. He’s looked to go to the lead in his last two starts, but that is not a given to happen here.
#6- Lucky Storm (Arindel, ridden by Ru Gonzalez)- He has the most career earnings in the field, and will be happy to have had a little bit of a rest. His last start was a disaster, showing that the trainer’s nine-day turnaround time does not always end up like Pennies. Now, he has had a whole six weeks since that last race, and it will be the first time in three starts that he races on firm turf, an ungraded race that he won. Very capable, if not the favorite.
#7- Trouble Brewing (30west, ridden by V Espinoza)- As of press time, this looks like it will be the first start of 2020 for the trainer. 30west has 80 career graded victories, so hopefully this is the start of seeing them back with more regularity at this level, or even any level for that matter. As for the horse, he was a $50.010 auction purchase off of Mb Stables last month, with hit and miss attempts at graded races. His last start was his best, placing second in the Grade 3 AP Classic.
#8- Rocky Mountain High (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by A Cedillo)- This is a jump up in class for a horse that did not seem as though his next race would be a graded race. Most recently, he was second in optional claimer at FE, and even before that there is nothing to hint that he was on the verge of this. Only two career wins, with the non-maiden win being a $10.000 claimer in April. Has not run long on the grass much, but something clearly has the trainer’s hopes up.