10/02/2012 3:12PM

Santa Anita: Beholder and Mechaya in battle of two fast fillies

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Shigeki Kikkawa
Beholder was entered in the Chandelier last Saturday but has been re-routed to a Thursday allowance sprint.

ARCADIA, Calif. – A first-level allowance sprint Thursday at Santa Anita has Breeders’ Cup implications for two of the fastest juvenile fillies in California.

Beholder and Mechaya, two-three finishers last month in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante, shorten to six furlongs Thursday in race 4. A good effort in the $50,000 allowance could lead to a shot next month at $500,000.

“I may end up thinking about the Breeders’ Cup Sprint for 2-year-olds,” Beholder’s trainer Richard Mandella said. “But there are some good fillies in there. She’s not the only one.”

Beholder and Mechaya are the two favorites in a field of seven that includes special-weight debut winner Midnight Ballet, stakes-placed Renee’s Titan, comebacker Wildcat Angie, maiden-claiming winner Serious, and Lovely Daughter.

Beholder, 1 for 3 sprinting, was entered in the Grade 1, 1 1/16-mile Chandelier Stakes on Saturday but was scratched by Mandella.

“She’s just not as prepared mentally to go long as I thought she’d be,” he said. “By the time I schooled her in the paddock the day before I could see in her eyes she didn’t have the same look she had at Del Mar.”

Two starts at Del Mar stamped Beholder as one of the top fillies in California. She won a July 22 maiden race by open lengths, and then set a fast pace and finished second by a nose in the Debutante, won by subsequent Chandelier winner Executiveprivilege.

Despite the lowered expectations of scratching from a Grade 1 to go in a first-level allowance, Mandella trusts her natural ability.

“There’s nothing wrong with her,” Mandella said. “It’s just that her mindset is not what you want to see going a mile and a sixteenth. I expect her to run very well, and then I can spend the next three weeks figuring out what I’m going to do.”

Beholder is owned by B. Wayne Hughes; Garrett Gomez rides. Her main rival is a filly she defeated by more than four at Del Mar. John Sadler trains Mechaya, who earned a 93 Beyer winning her debut and then regressed 15 points finishing third in the Debutante.

Mechaya is bred top and bottom to sprint – sired by City Zip and out of a dam by Valid Expectations. She was never considered for a route.

“Her breeding kind of made the decision for us,” assistant trainer Larry Benavidez said.

Since returning to Santa Anita, Mechaya has trained extremely well.

“It looks like she is growing a little bit, too,” Benavidez said. “But that’s a tough race Thursday.”

Martin Garcia rides Mechaya.

Midnight Ballet broke awkwardly in her debut, but won going away when the pacesetter Kinz Funky Monkey tired. Kinz Funky Monkey returned to win her next start.