02/24/2013 4:34PM

Santa Anita: Beholder works swiftly for Las Virgenes

Tom Keyser
Beholder, shown winning last fall's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, worked five furlongs in an effortless 59.60 seconds on Sunday.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Beholder, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2012, worked five furlongs in 59.60 seconds on Sunday, preparing for Saturday’s $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita.

The workout could have been much quicker, trainer Richard Mandella said.

“She looked pretty nice,” Mandella said. “She galloped out very nicely.

“We didn’t let her do too much. It’s time to run.”

The Grade 1 Las Virgenes is run over a mile and will be Beholder’s second start of the year. She was second by three-quarters of a length as the 1-5 favorite behind 20-1 Renee’s Titan in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes over seven furlongs on Jan. 21.

The Santa Ynez Stakes was Beholder’s first start since a win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies here in November, a victory that clinched her championship. After the Santa Ynez, Beholder was diagnosed with a throat ulcer, Mandella said.

Owned by B. Wayne Hughes, Beholder has won 3 of 6 starts and $1,245,000. In the Las Virgenes, Beholder will be favored in a small field that is expected to include Fiftyshadesofhay, Lady Asano, Renee’s Titan, and Scarlet Strike.

Fiftyshadesofhay, trained by Bob Baffert, won the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes by 5 3/4 lengths over 1 1/16 miles in her main track stakes debut on Jan. 26. Owned by the partnership of Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman, Fiftyshadesofhay worked five furlongs in 59.40 seconds on Sunday.

“I think she’s the real deal,” Baffert said. “I was high on her at Del Mar last summer. She didn’t want to run short.”

The Las Virgenes is one of three Grade 1 races on Saturday’s program, joined by the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap for older horses over 1 1/4 miles and the $300,000 Frank Kilroe Mile over a mile on turf.

Suggestive Boy, the winner of the Grade 2 Arcadia Stakes on Feb. 2, will be favored to win the Kilroe Mile. Three other runners from that race are Kilroe candidates – runner-up Wilkinson; Silentio, who was third; and Strong Suit, who finished 11th in his California debut. The Kilroe field will also include Mr. Commons, who was second in the 2012 Kilroe, and fifth in the BC Mile on Nov. 3, his most recent start.

Wilkinson won the Grade 2 American Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park last summer. He was beaten 2 1/2 lengths by Suggestive Boy in the 13-runner Arcadia Stakes in his second start of the meeting. Wilkinson was last of five in the Grade 3 Daytona Stakes on a wet-fast main track on Dec. 29 in his first start since the American Handicap.

A smaller field in the Kilroe may help Wilkinson’s chances against Suggestive Boy on Saturday.

“We’ve got two races in him,” trainer Jeff Mullins said. “We need the luck of the draw.”