Several factors lead to success in horse racing for owners, trainers, and even the horse but the one common denominator and the one thing all successful individuals in horse racing have in common is the ability to dream.
Not all champions are born into royalty and not all winner’s circles are graced by million dollar sales toppers. The beauty and magic of horse racing is unpredictability. The age old saying of “breed the best to the best and hope for the best” is something we’re all familiar with but isn’t always the key to fulfilling the “Dream.”
The dream of a little gelding named Twilight Eclipse came true this past Saturday with his WORLD RECORD setting performance in the grade II Pan American at Gulfstream Park but that dream didn’t start in the hollowed grounds of the top tracks in America.
Twilight Eclipse started his journey in the barn of owner/trainer John Langemeier. John has a small operation in the Midwest running most of his horses in Indiana and Kentucky. Langemeier purchased Twilight Eclipse for dirt cheap but not without a dream of this gelding one day achieving great things.
The son of Purim (grandson of Dynaformer) made his debut on Saturday, June 2nd in a Maiden Special Weight on the turf at Indiana Downs. There was little respect for Langemeier’s 1st timer as he entered the gates at odds of nearly 14-1. Twilight Eclipse broke near the rear while finding a little bit of trouble into the first turn but that didn’t faze the soon to be star. The Eclipse’s Shadow inhaled the 1-2 favorite as Langemeier's charge went on to a length victory.
Twilight Eclipse was even more impressive in his second start and first against allowance company. The grandson of Dynaformer would again show his affinity for the Indiana Downs turf as he made a menacing move into contention while splitting horses late to defeat a favored Tom Amoss trainee by three-quarters of a length.
The dream of the small trainer and cheap gelding seemed to have come true but the pair would part soon after West Point Thoroughbreds came calling with a big offer to purchase the horse. For John it was a bittersweet moment, he knew his training and care for the horse along with the horses talent had led to his success and he also knew in this business sometimes there are offers you just can’t refuse but he wouldn’t stop rooting the horse on to victory and the dream of the little son of Purim wouldn’t end with just an allowance win.
Twilight Eclipse found himself in the barn of Preakness winning trainer Tom Albertrani. The gelding went winless on the east coast in 2012 but faced top competition in 2 overnight stakes and a graded stake. Albertrani moved the gelding to Florida in the fall and entered him in the 12 furlong grade II W.L. Mcknight Handicap at Calder. The field was loaded with talent but the Eclipse would shadow over his competition once again as he drew away to a 1 ¾ length victory.
Most of the horse racing world knows Twilight Eclipse now for the performance he put on this past Saturday in the grade II Pan American Stakes. A week earlier the world record for 12 furlongs that stood for over 2 decades had been broken in the grade II San Louis Rey at Santa Anita by Bright Launch in a time of 2:22.72.) Once again Twilight Eclipse was there to overshadow all performances. The Purim gelding moved on the rail at the top of the stretch then proceeded to absolutely just RUN AWAY from Ioya Bigtime and the rest of the Pan American field in world record time (2:22.63)
From Indiana Downs to a multiple graded stakes winner and world record winning horse Twilight Eclipse proved exactly just what dreams are made of and what the little guy can do when given the opportunity.