09/02/2013 2:46PM

Del Mar: Beholder headed to BC Distaff by way of Zenyatta

Benoit & Associates
Beholder's easy score in the Torrey Pines has set her on the path to the Breeders' Cup Distaff.

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DEL MAR, Calif. – Beholder, who returned a winner from a four-month layoff in the Torrey Pines Stakes on Sunday, came out of the race “great,” her trainer, Richard Mandella, said Monday morning at Del Mar, and now will be pointed to the Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes on Sept. 28 at Santa Anita.

The Zenyatta, at 1 1/16 miles, is a prep for the 1 1/8-mile Breeders’ Cup Distaff on Nov. 1, and Mandella said that is the direction he hopes to head with Beholder, who won the 1 1/16-mile Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies last year at Santa Anita to secure the division’s Eclipse Award.

[DEL MAR FUTURITY: Get PPs, watch Wednesday's card live]

The back-up plan conceivably would be the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at seven furlongs, but Mandella said the Distaff is “what we’re looking at.”

Beholder had an easy time of it in the one-mile Torrey Pines, romping by 2 3/4 lengths with Gary Stevens as the 1-10 favorite in what was pretty much a paid workout. Stevens was awarded the mount by Mandella after Garrett Gomez, who rode Beholder in her nine prior starts, missed some time riding with personal problems earlier this meet.

Beholder had not run since finishing second to Princess of Sylmar in the Kentucky Oaks on May 3. She was unnerved by the commotion at Churchill Downs that day, so after getting her back to California, Mandella decided a freshening was in order.

She’s got a lot of quirks, but I’ll take it,” said Mandella, who trains Beholder for the Spendthrift Farm of B. Wayne Hughes. “She’s settled down nice. We brought her home, gave her a break, and she couldn’t have trained any better.

“She ran like we expected her to. But this is horse racing. Sometimes it can look too easy and everything goes wrong.

“When you’re supposed to win, you can only go down. You can only mess it up.”

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