A Canadian-bred son of Smart Strike, Twilight Meteor was making his first start since an impressive 2 1/4-length victory in the Bourbon County Stakes at Keeneland Oct. 27, a race forced off turf to the Polytrack surface. Under Edgar Prado for the first time Saturday, the $150,000 yearling purchase successfully closed from mid-pack behind a fast pace early to edge past Sedgefield in the final strides.
Twilight Meteor paid $15, $6.40, and $5.60 for his third win in five career starts with earnings of $163,775. The Todd Pletcher trainee, winner of two of four on the turf, earned $45,000 for the victory.
“Layoffs are overrated," Pletcher said. "We knew he did so well on Polytrack, but we decided when we came down here to point to this race, and if he did well, to look at the Lane’s End (Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park or the Palm Beach Stakes on the turf here. He looks like a horse that can go both ways (turf or dirt).” Both races are on March 24.
Le Dauphin finished third, 1 1/4 lengths behind the runner-up. The 2-to-1 favorite Soldier’s Dancer was another 1 1/4 lengths back in fourth in the full field of 12. The winner was timed in 1:40.76 over the firm course.
Dippi Trippi led through the first half-mile, clicking off fractions of :23 1/5 and :46 4/5. Sedgefield, taken in hand early by Rafael Bejarano, chased the pacesetter in second before taking over on the turn. He led through six furlongs in 1:10 3/5 and opened up by 1 /2 lengths at the eighth pole, but could not hold on. The Darrin Miller-trained runner-up returned $4.80 and $3.80.
Le Dauphin, ridden by Fernando Jara for trainer Bill Mott, was $8.20 to show.
After Soldier's Dancer came One of the Best, Pleasant Strike, Passport, Dippi Trippi, Fernando Po, Pickapocket, Pop Goes the Tiger, and Ace Up My Sleeve.