11/16/2012 7:02PM

Hollywood Park: Zenyatta sister wins debut easily

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Benoit & Associates
Eblouissante is out of Vertigineux, who is also the dam of Zenyatta.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Living up to expectations, Eblouissante, a 3-year-old half-sister to the famous champion Zenyatta, won her first start at Betfair Hollywood Park on Friday, comfortably beating seven other 3-year-old fillies in a maiden race over 1 1/16 miles.

While following the legacy of Zenyatta, the 2010 Horse of the Year who won 19 of 20 starts, is almost impossible to duplicate, Eblouissante won in a very promising style.

Ridden by Corey Nakatani, Eblouissante ($4.80) closed from seventh to win by 4 1/4 lengths in 1:45.27. She caught pacesetter Saturday Nite Ride inside the eighth pole and drew off late. Chestnut Moon finished second, a half-length in front of Saturday Nite Ride.

During the last furlong of the race, an emphatic cheer rose from the small crowd gathered on Friday afternoon.
Eblouissante, by Bernardini, races for breeder Eric Kronfeld, who bred Zenyatta and sold her as a yearling. John Shirreffs, who trained Zenyatta, also trains Eblouissante. Zenyatta is by Street Cry. Vertigineux is the dam of Zenyatta and Eblouissante, as well as the retired millionaire Balance.

In the moments after Friday's race, Shirreffs said he was both "excited and relieved" by the result.

"She's such a beautiful racehorse and she performed so well," he said. "I've been waiting for this day.

 

"I thought she handled everything well. It was her first time and she didn't know what was going on. She couldn't have handled herself better."

 

In recent weeks, Shirreffs said that Eblouissante had shown more determination in finishing her workouts. She displayed the same tendency in Friday's race, moving from sixth place to second from the end of the backstretch to early stretch.

"It looks like something clicks and she knows she should catch the horses in front of her," Shirreffs said. "We've seen that in the morning.

"Corey did a great job with her. We wanted to find a rhythm."

Shirreffs and Kronfeld are hoping that Eblouissante can start in an allowance race at the end of this meeting on Dec. 16 or at the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting, which opens on Dec. 26.

Eblouissante's win comes almost five years to the day of Zenyatta's debut on Nov. 22, 2007. Zenyatta started her career in a race over 6 1/2 furlongs, winning by three lengths. She won her first 19 starts before finishing second to Blame in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in her final race.
Zenyatta, 8, resides in Kentucky as a broodmare.