01/19/2013 2:57PM

Santa Anita: Beholder cuts back for Santa Ynez Stakes

Tom Keyser
Beholder will make her 3-year-old debut in Monday's $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Beholder is approaching Monday’s $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes at Santa Anita in the same condition as she did her last race – a win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies here last November.

“She couldn’t have been better going into the Breeders’ Cup,” trainer Richard Mandella said last week. “She’s coming back into that same form.”

If Beholder is as good now as she was in November, she may be impossible to beat in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez, which is run over 6 1/2 furlongs for 3-year-old fillies. In recent weeks, Beholder has left Mandella ecstatic with the way she has trained, notably two workouts – five furlongs in 58.80 seconds on Jan. 4 and six furlongs in 1:13 on Jan. 11.

“I breezed here an easy 1:13,” Mandella said. “She did it the right way.”

Beholder will be a heavy favorite in the Santa Ynez, starting from the outside in a field of eight.

Owned by B. Wayne Hughes, Beholder has won 3 of 5 starts and $1,215,000. The BC Juvenile Fillies was her first stakes win, and second consecutive win. She won an allowance race over six furlongs by 11 lengths last October, leading throughout.

After finishing fourth in her career debut at Betfair Hollywood Park in June, Beholder has been first or second in her last four starts. Her only loss in that span was a second by a nose to Executiveprivilege in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante on Sept. 1. At that time, Beholder had completed a stage of physical development, Mandella said.

“She had a hell of a growth spurt all summer long and kind of leveled off,” he said.

From her outside post in the Santa Ynez, Beholder should be in an ideal position under jockey Garrett Gomez, who can measure the progress of his rivals to the inside with a filly who has ample speed.

Mandella said that the Santa Ynez is the first of three starts at the meeting for Beholder, to be followed by the $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes over a mile on March 2 and the $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks over 1 1/16 miles on April 6.

“Before we ran in the Breeders’ Cup, we wondered if she’d get the two turns,” Mandella said. “She did well. With a little experience, she should get better from it.”

Beholder is the only stakes winner in the Santa Ynez. Three of the fillies who won their last starts in maiden races – Small Moves, Blushing Angel, and Dawn’s Charm – have drawn the inside three post positions.

Dawn’s Charm won a maiden race over 6 1/2 furlongs by 10 3/4 lengths at Betfair Hollywood Park on Dec. 14 in her third career start. Friday, trainer Jeff Bonde said that Dawn’s Charm could be withdrawn from the Santa Ynez in favor of the $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes over 1 1/16 miles next Saturday.

“We’ve always had high hopes for the filly,” Bonde said. “She kind of put it together for her last race.”

Monday’s nine race program has a sprint stakes for 3-year-olds, the $75,000 San Pedro Stakes over six furlongs.

Distinctiv Passion, trained by Bonde, makes his stakes debut after winning a maiden race at Hollywood Park on Nov. 25 and an allowance race here Dec. 28. At this stage, Bonde considers Distinctiv Passion to be a sprinter. How far he can run “is a question we’ll find out down the road,” he said.

Distinctiv Passion breaks from the rail in a field of five. He could face pressure from Really Mr Greely, who won the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue Stakes over seven furlongs at Hollywood Park on Nov. 22, but was ninth in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity over 1 1/16 miles on Dec. 15.