West Virginia Executive Summer 2014 - Page 114

[ sports ] In the Winners’ Circle Twilight Eclipse By Maggie Matsko Most tales of triumph and glory start out with very humble beginnings, and the story of Twilight Eclipse is no exception. In March of 2009, John Langemeier, the racehorse’s former owner, delivered Twilight Eclipse into the world. “Langemeier says when Twilight was born, he stood up almost immediately. His athleticism was on display from the moment he hit the ground,” recalls John Holland, who shares ownership of the world record-holding horse. When Twilight Eclipse turned 1, his original owners decided to auction him off at Keeneland, and Langemeier went along to see how much the horse would bring. When Twilight entered the ring, not one person placed a bid on him. No ExEdge one was interested in the gelding that didn’t have a blue blood pedigree. Langemeier offered $1,000 for While most the horse after the failed auction, and the original jockeys make $35,000- owners accepted. Even though he saw great po45,000 a tential in Twilight, Langemeier decided to wait year, the until the end of the horse’s 3-year-old season to best earn race him. “This is the true irony of the story,” says upwards of $2 million in Holland. “All the so-called experts at Keeneland prize money. weren’t interested in this horse at the age of 1, and at 4 years old, he set a world record.” Source: www. Holland, who lives in Charleston, WV, recalls neatorama. com the moment when he saw the opportunity to be involved in Twilight’s success. West Point Thoroughbreds, a horse racing company that creates and manages racing partnerships, worked with Holland on a deal to purchase the gelding from Langemeier. The company had sent Holland a video of Twilight Eclipse’s first two races at Indiana Downs, and after watching the clip, he was left in awe. “I was literally staring at the screen, open-mouthed,” Holland says. In the first race, Twilight Eclipse ran a mile by immediately taking the lead and running around the track in first place, easily beating all 114 west virginia executive Twilight Eclipse setting the world & track record at Gulfstream Park with JJ Castellano aboard on March 23, 2013. of the other contenders. Seventeen days later, he was entered in a 1 1/16-mile race and came back from last place to first, winning by about one length of a horse. “Seventeen days between races isn’t much time, and I was very impressed with Twilight’s stamina and flexible running style, winning one race from the front and the next race running from last to first,” says Holland. “This flexibility in his first two races showed me how athletic and intelligent he was from a very early age, so I was sold on him immediately. From the time I saw that video, I was sure Twilight Eclipse was going to be a special horse.”