12/04/2010 7:09PM

Twilight Meteor's speed carries to wire in Tropical Turf

Jim Lisa
Twilight Meteor, ridden by Luis Saez, holds off a late bid by Rahy's Attorney to upset the Tropical Turf Handicap.

MIAMI - On paper, it was obvious there was very little early speed in Saturday’s $100,000 Tropical Turf Handicap at Calder. That fact was not lost on trainer Marty Wolfson or jockey Luis Saez.

Twilight Meteor, who had started just once coming into the Grade 3 Tropical Turf since winning the Grade 3 Canadian Turf at Gulfstream Park 21 months earlier, sprinted right to the front and never relinquished the lead en route to a surprising neck victory over co-highweight Rahy’s Attorney. Baletti rallied mildly along the hedge to finish another half-length farther back in third. 

Twilight Meteor edged clear of El Kingdom in the run past the grandstand the first time and rated on the lead through honest fractions of 23.81 seconds, 47.98, and 1:11.69 for the opening six furlongs.  Twilight Meteor turned back a mild challenge from Souper Spectacular leaving the backstretch, then had enough left despite drifting through the final furlong to withstand late surges from both Rahy’s Attorney and Baletti.

Midnight Mischief, the tepid 7-2 favorite in a full field of 12 turf specialists, moved within striking distance into the stretch but lacked a closing surge and finished fifth. Never On Sunday, who shared top weight of 120 pounds with Rahy’s Attorney, was never a factor and checked home 10th.

 Midnight Mischief, a 4-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro owned by the Peachtree Stable, completed 1 1/8 miles over a firm course in 1:46.85 and paid $32.

“That one race after being off 19 months obviously did him a lot of good,” said Wolfson. “We’ll look for the right race at Gulfstream next.”

“Mr. Wolfson told me this horse likes to run close to the lead, he doesn’t have to be in front but he was running very comfortably so I just let him be there,” said Saez. “He made the lead easily and in the stretch when he sensed the other horses chasing him I cold tell he wasn’t going to let them pass.”

Askbut I Won’ttell makes it back-to-back Grade 3 wins

Askbut I Won’ttell proved her upset victory in the Grade 3 Cardinal Handicap at Churchill Downs four weeks ago was no fluke when she returned to post a three-quarter-length decision over a dead game Trip for A.J. in the $100,000 My Charmer Handicap. Evading Tempete finished another 1 ½ lengths farther back in third in her U.S. debut.

Askbut I Won’ttell was 6-1 when she rallied to win the Cardinal and was the same price in the Grade 3 My Charmer. Rating near the rear of the pack off a moderate early pace, Askbut I Won’ttell tipped out four-wide under jockey Shaun Bridgmohan to launch her bid into the stretch before wearing down Trip for A.J. in the closing strides.

Trip for A.J. survived an early duel with Volver, edged well clear upon settling into the stretch, and appeared like she might be home free before succumbing to the winner’s late surge.  Evading Tempete saved ground throughout and rallied mildly. Mary’s Follies, the 9-5 favorite, was never a factor and finished a well beaten seventh in a full field of a dozen fillies and mares.

Askbut I Won’ttell, a 4-year-old Horse Chestnut filly owned by Team Block and Rich Ege, completed nine furlongs in 1:47.91 and paid $15.80.   

“Last time I rode this filly we sat a little closer to the pace but since we had an outside post today, I wanted to take her back a bit more so I wouldn’t have trouble tucking in to save some ground,” said Bridgmohan, who also rode Askbut I Won’ttell to victory in the Cardinal. “It worked out perfectly and she was really rolling through the stretch once I asked her to go on with it.”