National Defense Filly Makes History in Juvenile Turf Sprint

Mark Smith - Saturday November 6

A great start to the Breeders' Cup meeting at Del Mar for Widden Stud after Wesley Ward's speedball Twilight Gleaming became the first filly to win the Group II Juvenile Turf Sprint.

Twilight Gleaming  wins G2 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint - Shamela Hanley/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup

Somewhat surprisingly, Irad Ortiz Jr took up the running on the daughter of National Defense (GB). She may have surrendered the lead momentarily in the straight as One Timer poked his nose in front.

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Twilight Gleaming rallied to turn back the challenge of One Timer before holding the challenge of the fast-finishing Go Bears Go (In Dubai) by a half-length with the same distance back to Kaufymaker (Jimmy Creed) in third.

Ward loves to send a team to Ascot every year and Twilight Gleaming finished second in the Group II Queen Mary Stakes won by Quick Suzy. The European sojourn did not end there as Twilight Gleaming travelled to Deauville, where she won the Prix de la Vallee d'Auge by a neck.

Bred by Pier House Stud and campaigned by Barbara Banke's Stonestreet Stables, Twilight Gleaming advances her record to three wins and two seconds from five starts.

From the first small crop by Invincible Spirit's Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, Twilight Gleaming was purchased by Ben McElroy on behalf of Banke for £75,000 at the 2020 Goffs' Orby Sale in 2020.

"We started early. This filly went to Barbara's farm in Ocala. They did a great job, and when they sent her to me she was well prepared. I told Barbara that this filly was very fast and precocious," Ward told Blood-Horse.

Twilight Gleaming is the best of two winners from three to race out of the unraced Dansili mare Thames Pageant.

Thames Pageant is a sister to Mainstream who raced for Matthew Smith in Australia as Invictus Prince. The son of Dansili had his moment in the sun when separating Winx and D'argento in the 2018 Group 1 Winx Stakes.

Thames Pageant is a half-sister to the Group III winner Reach For The Moon (Sea The Stars) and stakes-placed Chalk Stream (Sea The Stars) out of the stakes-winning Sadler's Wells mare Golden Stream.

National Defense (GB) shuttles to Widden Stud (Vic) from the Irish National Stud. His first Australian yearlings sell in 2022.

The son of Invincible Spirit stands at a fee of $9,900 (inc gst).

National Defense

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