Updated on 09/02/2012 12:48PM

Del Mar: Executiveprivilege barely remains unbeaten in Del Mar Debutante

Benoit & Associates
The 2-year-old filly Executiveprivilege improves to 4 fo 4 with her nose victory in the Del Mar Debutante.

DEL MAR, Calif.- Executiveprivilege was in all the right places in the stretch of Saturday’s $300,000 Del Mar Debutante.

A heavy favorite, Executiveprivilege rallied wide, seemingly the best place to be on Saturday, and caught an unlucky Beholder in the final stride to win the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante by a nose. The win extended Executiveprivilege’s unbeaten streak to four races, three of which have been in stakes.

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Owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman and trained by Bob Baffert, Executiveprivilege leaves Del Mar as the leading 2-year-old filly in California. She very nearly lost that distinction in the seven-furlong Debutante.

Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Executiveprivilege closed 2 1/2 lengths in the final furlong to reach the wire in time. She was fifth and then fourth on the backstretch and moved closer to the front on the turn.

Executiveprivilege ($3.60) was timed in 1:23.43.

“I thought we’d won it,” Bejarano said.

Beholder, making her stakes debut, finished 4 1/4 lengths in front of Mechaya in the field of eight.

Through the stretch, Executiveprivilege raced well off the rail, leaving the margin between the two fillies difficult to judge when they crossed the finish. Trainer Richard Mandella thought that Beholder had won, while Baffert thought Executiveprivilege’s rally had come up short.

“We were all hugging and kissing, thinking we’d won,” Mandella said.

“I didn’t think she got up,” Baffert said. “I’m grateful that we got the photo.”

Beholder, ridden by Garrett Gomez, took the lead from the start, leading by 1 1/2 lengths on the backstretch through fractions of 22.44 and 45.34 seconds.

“She’s naturally quick,” Mandella said.

The win was a milestone for Bejarano, a record-tying 12th stakes win of the meeting. He equals the mark shared by four riders – Chris McCarron, Corey Nakatani, Laffit Pincay Jr., and Gary Stevens.

Executiveprivilege, by First Samurai, has earned $390,000. Bought for $650,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ sale of 2-year-olds in-training in April, Executiveprivilege won the Landaluce Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park on July 14 and the Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes here on Aug. 8.

She is a candidate for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.