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Champion Twilight Gleaming BACK At Del Mar | 2022 Daisycutter Handicap Preview & FREE Picks
Twilight Gleaming winning the 2021 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (Ernie Belmonte)

Champion Twilight Gleaming BACK At Del Mar | 2022 Daisycutter Handicap Preview & FREE Picks

Mike previews the 2022 Daisycutter Handicap at Del Mar, then gives his top picks and longshots. The 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) champion Twilight Gleaming returns to the sight of her biggest victory yet, but is she vulnerable as the favorite? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!

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The track press release:

Del Mar’s Friday feature will be a dandy dash of five furlongs on its Jimmy Durante Turf Course which has drawn seven fillies and mares. The race is the Daisycutter Handicap and the overnight offering carries a purse of $100,000.

A race within the race between the two prime contenders appears likely in the headliner. Both runners – the gray mare Leggs Galore, owned by William Sims, and the soph filly Twilight Gleaming, who races in the colors of Stonestreet Stables — are very quick and a front-end duel looms in the test, which goes as Race 6 on the eight-race card.

A daisycutter in racing parlance is, simply, a grass horse. Think of a horse running across an open field with daisies growing here and there and you get the idea. Grass horses tend to lift their legs higher when they run (as opposed to the dirt runners who pound more), so again you can see where the daisycutter thing comes into play.

Del Mar’s morning line maker, Jon White, has hung the two chief protagonists in the Daisycutter side by side. He’s got the veteran Leggs Galore a slight favorite at 8/5 with her chief rival, the shipper Twilight Gleaming, a tick behind her at 9/5.

Here’s the full field for the race from the rail out with riders and morning line odds:

Marsha Naify’s Royal Address (Joe Bravo up, 3-1); Naify’s Xmas Surprise (Jessica Pyfer, 15-1); Madden Racing, Kum or Tsai’s Sadie Bluegrass (Armando Ayuso, 15-1); R Unicorn Stable’s She’s So Nice (Umberto Rispoli, 8-1); Leggs Galore (Ricky Gonzalez); Bell tower Thoroughbreds’ Havana Love (Diego Herrera, 12-1), and Twilight Gleaming (Juan Hernandez).

The California-bred Leggs Galore rarely runs a bad one. She’s been to the post 15 times and come away a winner on nine occasions. All of her victories have come on turf and she’s a perfect three for three at Friday’s distance. She was last out in June at Belmont Park where she flashed her speed but then fell back to finish fifth in the Grade I Just A Game Stakes at a mile. The Phil d’Amato trainee no doubt will appreciate returning to sprinting.

Twilight Gleaming, a well-traveled Irish-bred miss, has been either first or second in all seven of her starts. She’s been a winner in New York, Kentucky, France and Del Mar, where she won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint last November 5. Veteran conditioner Wesley Ward is sending his charge to Southern California from Saratoga for her shot at the Daisycutter.

First post on Friday is at 4 p.m. The Daisycutter will got off at approximately 6:30 p.m.