09/27/2012 2:28PM

Santa Anita: Executiveprivilege gets distance test in Chandelier Stakes

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Benoit & Associates
Executiveprivilege will try two turns for the first time in the Grade 1 Chandelier Stakes.

ARCADIA, Calif. – The annual puzzle of how 2-year-old fillies will handle route distances has been foremost on trainer Bob Baffert’s mind when he thinks of Executiveprivilege.

Undefeated in four starts, including three sprint stakes, Executiveprivilege makes her first start around two turns in Saturday’s $250,000 Chandelier Stakes over 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita. The race is a key prep for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies here Nov. 2.

Earlier this week, Baffert was confident that Executiveprivilege could handle the longest race of her career.

“It’s a good test,” he said. “I don’t think it will be a problem. She has gears.”

The Grade 1 Chandelier Stakes, run in past years as the Oak Leaf Stakes, is the sixth race on an 11-race program at Santa Anita and the first of five consecutive Grade 1 races on Saturday’s card.

The Chandelier Stakes is part of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In program, offering a fees-paid berth to the BC Juvenile Fillies to the winner if nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program.

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The Chandelier Stakes drew a field of 11, including five stakes winners – Renee’s Queen (Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf at Del Mar), Butterfly Soul (Phil Shepherd Stakes at Fairplex Park), Salamera (J J’sdream Stakes at Calder), Contessa’s Moment (Iowa Sorority Stakes at Prairie Meadows), and Miss Empire (Cinderella Stakes at Hollywood Park).

Of those, only Renee’s Queen has won around two turns. The Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf was run over a mile. Trained by Eric Guillot, Renee’s Queen was 30-1 in that race.

Executiveprivilege races for Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman. By First Samurai, Executiveprivilege will be favored in the Chandelier. She won the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante over seven furlongs by a nose, closing from fifth in a field of eight to catch pacesetter Beholder.

“When she won that race at Del Mar, she cooled out in two minutes,” Baffert said. “She seems to handle everything. She’s very easy to train. She goes out there and wins. That’s pretty tough.”

Beholder is part of the Chandelier field and is likely to be part of the pace. Beholder made her stakes debut in the Del Mar Debutante. She looked like a winner with a furlong remaining, leading by 2 1/2 lengths.

The added distance is an issue for Beholder, trainer Richard Mandella said. He said he has learned little watching Beholder train at Santa Anita in recent weeks. Several trainers, including Mandella, said the track at Santa Anita was quite deep in late September after 1,000 tons of sand was added to the surface during the summer.

“It’s been hard to read because this track has been deep and testing,” he said. “They did add material.

“She’s doing good, so we’ll find out. She continues to grow. She’s a nice big filly.”

The distance should not be an issue for Scarlet Strike, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer.

A filly by Smart Strike, Scarlet Strike won a maiden race over a mile on Sept. 2, closing 17 lengths in the final half-mile to win by a half-length as the 5-2 favorite. If she runs the same type of race in the Chandelier Stakes, she could be a threat to Executiveprivilege in the stretch.