10/01/2016 8:45PM

Stellar Wind, en route to BC Distaff, rules Beholder again

Benoit & Associates
Stellar Wind defeats Beholder by a neck in the Zenyatta Stakes.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Stellar Wind had Beholder’s number in summer. Stellar Wind also has Beholder’s number in fall.

In a virtual replay of a Grade 1 two months ago at Del Mar, Stellar Wind wore down Beholder in the Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita, winning by a neck and establishing herself as California's top older female headed to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

“That mare has my number,” Beholder’s trainer Richard Mandella said. “I have to switch numbers. Beholder ran her heart out.”

Beholder broke running from the inside post, and was pressured by Tara’s Tango and Stellar Wind. Gary Stevens, riding Beholder, had no option but go on with it.

“I would have liked to switch positions,” Stevens said. “I would have liked to have switched positions at Del Mar. It’s just tough getting beat on her.”

Stellar Wind, trained by John Sadler, pressed her way to victory over Beholder in the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch in July at Del Mar, a race some chalked up as an aberration. Turns out, it was anything but.

On Saturday at Santa Anita, Stellar Wind was three-wide forwardly placed, pressing the pace outside Tara’s Tango. When that rival gave way into the far turn, Stellar Wind engaged Beholder. It appeared jockey Victor Espinoza was working hard to keep Stellar Wind close to Beholder.

"He has to do that," Sadler said. "You can't let Beholder cruise along."

Stellar Wind took the fight to Beholder, and the two fillies locked up at the quarter pole. They raced head and head to deep stretch before Stellar Wind inched clear to win by a neck. She paid $6 as the second choice. It was 11 3/4 lengths back to third-place finisher Vale Dori.

Tara’s Tango and Off the Road finished fourth and fifth.

“I hope now we get some respect,” assistant trainer Larry Benavediz said. They’ll get more than that if they're able to score another upset Nov. 4 in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. The Distaff will be the fourth meeting between Stellar Wind and Beholder (Stellar Wind has a 2-1 edge). Songbird, the undefeated 3-year-old filly, will be waiting in the wings.

Mandella said immediately after the Zenyatta that Beholder would start in the Distaff.

Tara’s Tango’s trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said “it would be my guess” that Tara’s Tango would shorten up and run next in the BC Filly and Mare Sprint.

The final time of the Zenyatta was fast, 1:41.80.

David Craighead More than 1 year ago
Look, Stellar Wind is  a true and serious race horse and for to think that she wasn't on the level as Beholder was a handicappers mistake in judgement for I've been watching this mare for some time and have always believe that she as good as any of the champion mares on the current racing schedule. Plus, you keep racing at the top levels for so long that eventually you lose, then she' Beholder is getting older and wearing down as a result of the company she's been keeping! no disrespect to the champion mare Beholder",. she got beaten on the square!
Scott Samuel More than 1 year ago
It makes me very happy to see Stellar Wind beat Beholder as it is extremely bothersome to me to hear how Beholder is and/or was mentioned as one of the "GOAT."  Before Chrome destroyed her in the Pacific Classic, she had already been beaten by Stellar Wind.  Additionally, the only time she went outside of California, she lost to Close Hatches.  Bottom line, Beholder is a good mare who should be retired.  Let Stellar Wind and Songbird duke it out and lets see who the Champion really is.  Please, Mandella, do not run Beholder in the Distaff.  She has made you plenty of money, but she needs to be retired and let the torch be passed on

MollyJulia624 More than 1 year ago
John Sadler Beating Richard Mandella - Victor Espinoza - 4 Wins?
Eddie Goldstone More than 1 year ago
Hey Thomas, i really didn't want write this but you saying Gary Stevens is crooked is absurd tell me something are you in any hall of fame that i might of missed? Do you go to work every day and put your life on the line just to make people happy and having fun. I guess you hang around to many bush tracks. To accuse some one that has the greatest respect in our business with out any proof.SHAME ON YOU. Stay away your not wanted
Alan Arribas More than 1 year ago
Mandella interviews before and after the race were horrible!! waht a sore loser.win or lose you take the interview and accept it. to say"i guess id better learn that horses name(stellar wind) how disrespectful can one be.
Tim Doran More than 1 year ago
If he didn't want the lead, why did he take it the last 2 times?  They were 11 1/2 ahead of the field. Twice he went fast and lost.  Let Stellar Wind go then see if you can outrun them.  1:09 and change is fast.
Mike Lee More than 1 year ago
110 beyers for winner Stellar Wind and runner up Beholder...Don't think the brilliant 3 yr old,Songbird,is ready to run with these two yet!   Stellar Wind,all the way,in the BC Distaff!!!
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
Songbird will leave all the competition in her wake w/o ANY trouble at all!
Thomas More than 1 year ago
Fool me once,  shame on me, Fool me twice then I'm an idiot. Gotta love Gary Stevens, twice now vs. Stellar Wind he has let Beholder gallop and then when challenged,  never try.  "She shies from the whip." "She doesn't like anything more than a free reign gallop."  Haha, for 3 years of racing Beholder was whipped and ridden hard though so thats a lie,  meanwhile Espinoza is riding hard and pushing Stellar's head hard and whipping her repeatedly from the turn trying to win the race.   Yet there's known race fixer Stevens not moving a muscle, not trying to win is race fixing folks and Stevens has done it a thousand times in his career, not to mention the buzzers he even said he used to use on horses in his early days and who knows beyond that. 
Eleanor Sniegowski More than 1 year ago
Hey chumley Stevens is trying to win he just doesnt have it any more.There is numerous riders at the major tracks that can outride Stevens in their sleep.Mandella better switch jocks for the bc.
Eddie Goldstone More than 1 year ago
Hey Miss Eleanor, Mr. Stevens can still ride loops around most of the riders in your business just don't ride him or bet on him if you think he's not good enough to ride the mare. Good luck
Eleanor Sniegowski More than 1 year ago
Stevens looked like a fish out of water riding in Kentucky this spring.He still can ride a bit but not like old times.