When Twilight Eclipse won his debut in June of 2012, his earnings of $20,400 in that mile turf test at Indiana Grand represented a return of more than 20 times the $1,000 paid by John Langemeier when he bought the son of Purim at public auction.
Bred in Kentucky by Epona Thoroughbreds and unraced at age 2, Twilight Eclipse followed 17 days later with another victory and was snatched up by West Point Thoroughbreds in a private transaction. He has now earned more than $2 million for West Point under the tutelage of Tom Albertrani since his acquisition.
Bought by Langemeier as a "short yearling" consigned by Select Sales to the 2010 Keeneland Horses of All Ages sale, Twilight Eclipse is the least expensive public auction purchase competing in this year's Breeders' Cup World Championships, according to data from BloodHorse MarketWatch. The 7-year-old gelding has been installed as a 30-1 morning-line odds longshot in the Longines Turf (gr. IT) on the Nov. 5 Breeders' Cup program at Santa Anita Park.
Winner of the Man o' War Stakes (gr. IT) in 2015, Twilight Eclipse has four additional graded stakes victories among his eight wins from 36 starts. Included in his 16 second- or third-place finishes are 14 placings in graded events.
"You never know when you're going to catch lightning in a bottle," Carrie Brogden, a partner in Select Sales said of the gelding's inexpensive sale price and illustrious career.
The Kentucky horsewoman said Twilight Eclipse was bred on a foal-share deal and was sold without reserve.
"It was just the perfect storm," she recalled. "He vetted fine. He was correct—an above average physical—but the sire was not fashionable and there were just no buyers for a nice colt."
While Twilight Eclipse was sold at the lowest rung of the public auction price sector, the most expensive purchase competing in the Breeders' Cup is Teresa Viola Racing Stable's Photo Call, a 15-1 shot when she takes on males in the Mile (gr. IT). The 5-year-old daughter of world-class sire Galileo was purchased by Crupi's New Castle Farm for $3 million when offered as part of Craig and Holly Banderoff's Denali Stud consignment to last year's Keeneland November breeding stock sale.
The mare bred in Ireland by Mrs. Evie Stockwell won last year's Rodeo Drive Stakes (gr. IT) and Violet Stakes (gr. IIIT) and finished fifth in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) at Keeneland just before being offered as a racing or broodmare prospect at auction.
Photo Call has won two of her six starts since being turned over to trainer Todd Pletcher following her acquisition by Teresa Viola and most recently took the First Lady Stakes (gr. IT) at Keeneland.