Slipstream Slips Through to Steal Palisades

Slipstream eyed a gaping hole along the rail in the stretch run of the $200,000 Palisades Stakes April 10 at Keenelandslipped through it, and steamed on to victory as the favorite, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2T) winner Twilight Gamingwent wide after leading much of the way and settled for second.

Twilight Gleaming, a daughter of National Defense who is already a veteran of Royal Ascot, and Slipstream, a More Than Ready colt, both raced on that day in November at Del Mar. Twilight Gleaming defeated males in the Juvenile Turf Sprint, while Slipstream finished sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G2T).

In the Palisades, Slipstream and jockey Joel Rosario started at the back of field of seven 3-year-olds, saving ground into the stretch. Twilight Gleaming, a confirmed frontrunner, swung wide in the stretch toward the middle of the “good” Keeneland turf and Slipstream quickly shot through to win by 3/4 length.

It was another 5 1/2 lengths to Pure Panic in third as slipsteam finished the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:02.80.

Trainer Wesley Ward removed blinkers from Twilight Gleaming’s equipment for the first time in her six-race career—a move he said he typically makes with his 3-year-olds. Her rider, Irad Ortiz Jr., said the equipment change had no impact on her drifting out into the lane.

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“She always tries to drift a little bit in the stretch but I didn’t want to fight her,” Ortiz said. “I just let her be happy and kept riding and just got caught. I could feel (Slipstream) coming, but I could not fight with my filly.”

Whatever the cause, Rosario was delighted with the result.

“I was a little surprised,” he said of the inside opening. “But I like it when that happens.”

“He did it well,” Rosario said of Slipstream’s performance. “The pace in front of him was decent and he got there when I asked him.”

Ben Colebrook, who saddled Slipstream for trainer Christophe Clement, said Rosario “looked like he was loaded with horse. It was just he was going to get out, and right when you think that, it opened up and he just exploded through that hole It was impressive and Joel did a great job.”

The lingering question after the moderate upset—Slipstream was the second-choice in the Palisades—was who will go on to Royal Ascot in June.

“We’ll decide after the next race,” Ward said of Twilight Gleaming. Ward is a pioneer of American participation in the Royal meeting and it would be more surprising if Twilight Gleaming did not attend than if she did.

Members of the Jump Sucker Stable, owner of Slipstream, said they will wait to make a decision while celebrating the Palisades win.

Slipstream, bred in Kentucky by Burleson Farm and McKenzie Bloodstock, took three tries to find the winner’s circle but won’t big when he finally broke through Sept. 18 at Belmont Park, winning by 5 1/2 lengths. The Christophe Clement trainee went on from that to win the Futurity (G3) at the same track a week later before heading for Del Mar.

Twilight Gleaming finished second in her debut going 4 1/2 furlongs on the dirt at Keeneland in April 2021. Ward immediately switched her to the turf, where she won at Belmont Park a month later. A runner-up effort in the Queen Mary Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot ensued, followed by a win in the Prix de la Vallee d’Auge at Deauville, before the Breeders’ Cup.

Video: Palisades S. (BT)

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