Sharp-Trained Twilight Blue, Intrepid Heart Finish 1-2 In Inaugural Fort Larned – Horse Racing News


Winner Twilight Blue, inside, battles stablemate Intrepid Heart to the finish in the Fort Larned

After matching strides throughout the stretch, 6-5 favorite Twilight Blue emerged as a narrow head winner over tracking stablemate Intrepid Heart in Saturday’s inaugural running of the $200,000 Fort Larned for 3-year-olds and up at Churchill Downs.

Trained by Joe Sharp and ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., Twilight Blue covered the 1 3/16 miles on a fast main track in 1:57.09.

After longshot Artemus Eagle led the field of five older horses through a first quarter mile in :24.11, Twilight Blue asserted himself to the front down the backstretch and a half-mile in :49.33 with Intrepid Heart in close pursuit. Passing the six-furlong marker in 1:13.77, Twilight Blue and Intrepid Heart engraved their prolonged drive midway around the far turn. The two battled shoulder to shoulder to the finish with a head bob deciding the victor.

“He was really gutsy today,” Hernandez said of Twilight Blue. “He took me to the front up the backside and really battled late. It was really cool to win a race named after Fort Larned (who Hernanadez rode to victory in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic [G1]) in the first edition.

The win was worth $122,760 and increased Twilight Blue’s earnings to $444,594 with a record of 5-3-1 in 12 starts. Three of his wins have come at Churchill Downs.

“Both of these horses try so hard all the time and give it their all,” said Sharp, who trains the winner and the hard-luck runner-up. “It’s great to win it with one of them but you’re gutted at the same time for the other to run so well and lose. Both of these horses have been on the right and wrong sides of tight photos in the past. It’s nice to run on this day at Churchill Downs. This is our home track and I’m glad we’re able to be here to support it.”

Twilight Blue is a Kentucky-bred son of Air Force Blue out of the Rahy mare Lily the Pink and was bred by Knowles Bloodstock Inc. He is campaigned by Carl R. Moore Management LLC, which bought him from Lane’s End for $45,000 at the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Twilight Blue returned $4.76. Intrepid Heart, with Tyler Gaffalione up  outfinished King Fury, who was 1 ¼ lengths back in third under Julien Leparoux.

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