Twilight Ridge, winner of the 1985 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), died April 2 at Mike Rutherford's Manchester Farm. At 30, she was the oldest living female Breeders' Cup winner.
The bay daughter of Cox's Ridge out of the Quibu mare Wavering Sky raced for Eugene Klein and trainer D. Wayne Lukas after being purchased for $350,000 from the 1984 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky summer yearling sale. She was bred in Florida by Dr. Thomas E. Burrow.
Twilight Ridge broke her maiden at first asking at Belmont Park
, then won the Astoria Stakes (gr. III) before using a runner-up finish in the Critical Miss at Philadelphia Park
as a springboard for her Aqueduct Racetrack
Breeders' Cup score. In that race, Twilight Ridge and stablemate Family Style
finished one-two for Lukas and Klein. Family Style would be named champion 2-year-old filly.
Although Twilight Ridge did not win another stakes, she was third in the Hollywood Starlet Stakes (gr. I), second in the Las Virgenes (gr. III), and second in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I). She raced to a 4-5-2 record from 15 starts before she was sold in a dispersal of Klein's bloodstock at the famous Night of the Stars mixed sale at Fasig-Tipton in 1987. Rutherford went to $1,325,000 for the mare, who was carrying her first foal by Saratoga Six.
"I'd always admired her," Rutherford told the Blood-Horse in the summer of 2012. "At the Breeders' Cup, we were going down to the paddock and Wayne's eyes kind of twinkled when he pointed at her. When they had the sale, I asked him which fillies he liked and he said, 'I really like Twilight Ridge, she's smart.' He put me on her, we bought her, and she's paid for herself time and time again."
Twilight Ridge's offspring brought $2,295,000 at auction. The average price for one of her 14 yearlings—eight fillies and six colts—was $459,000. Her produce included 1995 Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II) winner La Rosa
, stakes winner Daylight Ridge
, and 1994 Louisiana Derby (gr. III) runner-up Game Coin
. Her daughters' progeny also brought significant amounts, and even granddaughters like 2006 Sabine Handicap (gr. III) victress Taittinger Rose
carried on the stakes-winning tradition.
Pensioned in 2007, Twilight Ridge lived out her retirement at Manchester near Lexington. She never lost the look of a champion and was regally graceful in her later years.
"Twilight Ridge... was 30 years old and in excellent health until the last month," read a release from Manchester Farm. "She was a wonderful producer as well as a great race mare. Twilight Ridge had 11 winning foals and 6 of her foals had speed numbers above 100. Twilight Ridge will be missed at Manchester Farm as she was a very special lady, always having the sweetest disposition with other horses and people. Twilight Ridge will be buried at her home, Manchester Farm."