09/28/2013 9:00PM

Zenyatta Stakes: Beholder makes winning look easy

Benoit & Associates
Beholder, ridden by Gary Stevens, wins the Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths Saturday.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Beholder won the fourth Grade 1 race of her career in Saturday’s $250,000 Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita, giving trainer Richard Mandella an opportunity to issue a subtle challenge to others pointing fillies and mares to the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff here on Nov. 2.

“She’s a filly that loves a fight,” he said.

Beholder barely kicked up the dust to win the Zenyatta over 1 1/16 miles. Ridden by a confident Gary Stevens, Beholder ($5.20) led throughout, holding a three-length lead with a furlong remaining and winning by 1 1/4 lengths over Authenticity, a 9-2 shot.

The champion 2-year-old filly of 2012, Beholder was timed in 1:42.11, winning her third Grade 1 race of 2013. Earlier this year, she won two Grade 1 races for 3-year-old fillies during the winter-spring meeting here – the Las Virgenes Stakes and Santa Anita Oaks. In May, Beholder was second to the brilliant Princess of Sylmar in the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.

The Zenyatta was Beholder’s first start against older fillies and mares.

Stevens had Beholder in front by a length over Include Me Out through an opening quarter-mile of 23.73 seconds. Beholder led by a length over Joyful Victory after a half-mile in 47.36 seconds.

Beholder’s lead was down to a half-length on the turn when she moved clear of her six rivals entering the stretch. Stevens said he has seen similar moves in morning workouts.

“She does that in the morning when she switches leads coming off the turn,” Stevens said. “She lunges.

“We get along pretty good. I just try to stay out of her way.”

Authenticity, the winner of graded stakes at Churchill Downs and Saratoga earlier this year, finished 2 1/4 lengths in front of Joyful Victory, who won the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Invitational here in March.

Flashy American was fourth, followed by More Chocolate, Via Villaggio, and Include Me Out.

Beholder has won 7 of 11 starts and $1,975,000 for owner B. Wayne Hughes, who celebrated his 80th birthday on Saturday.

By Henny Hughes, Beholder has won 5 of 6 career starts at Santa Anita, including the BC Juvenile Fillies here last November. She earned a fees-paid berth to the BC Distaff for her win in the Zenyatta through the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In Program.

The BC Distaff will be Beholder’s second start at 1 1/8 miles, preceded by the loss in the Kentucky Oaks. The added distance does not concern the ever-optimistic Stevens.

 “I haven’t gotten to the bottom of her,” Stevens said. “Maybe there is not as much there as I think, but it feels there is another gear there.”



Meydan Rocks More than 1 year ago
Beholder whips Royal Delta royally in the distaff. What then?
Jordan More than 1 year ago
See, Princess of Sylmar DID need to win the Beldame. Had Princess not won the Beldame and Beholder goes Lady's Secret-BC Distaff for 4 grade 1s on the year, Beholder would be your champ. Princess is going to be the champion now, but c'mon, lets see a Princess-Royal Delta-Beholder grudge match in the BC Distaff. Beholder will be where she's supposed to be in 5 weeks, where will Princess be?
EddySealy More than 1 year ago
If beholder wins the distaff she should be the champ
Jordan More than 1 year ago
She would have to win by at least 8 to make the vote close. So, there is still a small chance.
Mark More than 1 year ago
POS will be waiting to collect her eclipse. Beholder lost heads up . Should have come totTravers if she wanted some. Oh wait the 1 1/4 thing . Yeah she wants no part .
Jordan More than 1 year ago
That loud beaping noise is the Princess of Sylmar camp trying to back into an Eclipse. The BC Distaff is the richest and most prestigious race for females in North America. It's supposed to be the championship race. PoS is healthy. She should run. Forget about Eclipses because she does have it now basically wrapped up, and run for the sport of it. Test your filly against the best field of females assembled all year. Go and make another emphatic statement, and do it on the other side of the country. As a fan, don't you want to see PoS, Royal Delta, and Beholder in the same starting gate running for $2 million?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So, do you think they should keep Game on Dude out of the BC Classic? He's got the older male Eclipse wrapped up. And if Wise Dan were to lose the BC Mile, Dude could win HoY. He's already proven he can win grade 1 races at 10 furlongs on all types of surfaces. So, they should keep Dude out of the Classic. And it's not like Wise Dan has anything left to prove in the mile turf division, and he's certain to be champion turf male. Let's pull him out of the BC as well. Horses can ALWAYS prove more. Winning a $2 million race would enhance PoS, Royal Delta, and Beholder's reps even more. They've all accomplished alot, but there's always room to win more big races. The ONLY valid reason to keep PoS out of the BC Distaff is the money. And I just don't think holding supposedly the best female out of the $2 million Disatff over $100k is sporting. Would it be a gamble to suppllement? Absolutely. But she would at least break even with a 4th place finish and make money if in the top 3. And if she really is that good, shouldn't she finish in the top 3? On top of that, they wouldn't have to go through the same thing next year; if they supplement this year she's covered for the rest of her career.
Mark More than 1 year ago
I want them all to run as a fan. Pos already beat her heads up in the biggest race for 3 year old fillies. And why didn't beholder ship in for Alabama? I'll tell you . Because she is limited distance wise. And as far as winning more big races . She will take care of that as a 4 year old..now as a fan don't you want to see that ?
Mark More than 1 year ago
Oh. And I want dude in to ensure like orb all that $ is on him in the win pool and we can get ANOTHER overlay on the winner as we did with fort larned last year.
Mike B More than 1 year ago
Stevens had a big day with wins (and 2 close 2nds).. also liked the apprentice Orozco bringing in long shots in stakes races.
Janice Palmer More than 1 year ago
Joyful Victory needed the lead the way the track was playing. Expect that to happen in the Distaff. Unable to seize the lead made this race much too easy for the front runner. Congrats to the three year old, Beholder, on a very nice performance. She is certainly one to watch in the future!
Chris Lowe More than 1 year ago
Wait until someone challenges her early. Absolutely no one went after her the first half mile.
Lawrence Macselwiney More than 1 year ago
She took heat in the Kentucky Oaks and she was best that day. Im not saying she's better than Sylmar now, but she was best that day. Don't sell her short. She doesn't need the lead.
Janice Palmer More than 1 year ago
But Joyful Victory DOES need the lead & with those splits on that track, other than getting caught wide, there wasn't much excuse for her not to have it -- that's where she likes to be & must be, especially on that track.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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Alex Sterioff More than 1 year ago
Chris that because no one can. No one want to do a 1:09 and have nothing left coming home.