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Man O' War Stakes – Twilight Eclipse Exacts Revenge On Imagining

Posted by on 5/7/2015 9:50:37 PM

The Man O' War Stakes is a Grade-1 event that is held at Belmont Park, and it is one of the top turf races in the country as the best finishers here usually go on to the Breeders' Cup Turf in November. This race is 1 3/8 miles at the home of the Belmont Stakes, and there is a purse of $400,000 for horses that are four years and older. It is named, of course, for the great Man O' War, who was arguably the best racehorse that ever lived.

This should boil down to a duel between Imagining and Twilight Eclipse, which did battle back in March and Imagining came out on top. This time, Twilight Eclipse will even the score with a big win at Belmont Park and prepare for the Breeders' Cup in a few months' time.

What : Horse Betting

When : Saturday, May 9, 2015; post time TBA

Where : Belmont Park, Elmont, NY

Pick : Twilight Eclipse

Comes The Dream needs a big effort after fading to 10th at the Belmont Gold Cup Invitational, but to be fair, that is a two-mile race and he isn't the first thoroughbred to do that. Still, that was last June and he has finished sixth or worse in four of his last five starts, failing to win since he broke his maiden on his fourth try, so this five-year-old gelding is probably a longshot.

Dynamic Sky came in second at the Grade-2 Elkhorn, his first finish in the money since winning the Grade-3 Red Smith Handicap in November. This Canadian five-year-old is largely a turf horse, but he is wildly inconsistent and Dynamic Sky will need a little bit of dynamism to finish in the money on Saturday.

Hardest Core had a run of four wins in a row come to a screeching halt with an eighth at the Breers' Cup Turf in November, which was his last start. However, his best results have come in allowance races, but he needed four tries to break his maiden and then won the Grade-1 Arlington Million last August. Which version of this five-year-old gelding will we see at Belmont Park?

Hyper hasn't been in a competitive race since finishing eighth at the Red Smith Hanidcap in November 2013, and at eight years old, this might be just a matter of rolling him out there and see what happens. He has been off the track for a long time and you don't just resume where you left off; it's somewhat surprising that he is even listed for this race, but don't get your hopes up for Hyper doing anything major.

Imagining is coming off a victory at the Grade-2 Pan America, his first top-three result in three races, but he is the defending champion here and has pulled out a few excellent performances in the past. He did finish seventh at the Breeders' Cup Turf and is probably past his prime at seven years old, but the Pan American showed that Imagining could still be a threat on his day.

Twilight Eclipse should be considered the favorite after a third at the Pan American was his sixth in a row in the money (and seventh of fourth or better). All six of those races were graded-stakes events, including a third at the Breeders' Cup Turf, but Twilight Eclipse has to show that he has an extra gear to pull out a win, which he hasn't done since the Grade-2 Mac Diarmida last February. This six-year-old is the best horse in the field, but he has been that before and come away empty-handed.

War Dancer rounds out the field has run just once in 2015, finishing third in an allowance race on dirt last month, so he'll have some worth to do to show he is up to the challenge of keeping up with this field. His last race on turf came in October, when he finished seventh at the Grade-1 Canadian International, so we'll see if this five-year-old has anything left in the tank when he heads to the gate on Saturday.

How It Will Play Out

This is a decent field for a race for older horses between the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, and it should be entertaining. Imagining did get the better of Twilight Eclipse at the Pan American, but it will be difficult to do it twice in a row, which is why Twilight Eclipse is the play on Saturday.

Man O' War Stakes Betting Pick: Twilight Eclipse



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