ARCADIA, Calif. - Renee’s Titan closed more than five lengths in the final furlong to score an upset win in Monday’s $150,500 Santa Ynez Stakes at Santa Anita, denying Beholder, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2012, a victory in her first start of 2013.
Renee’s Titan ($43.80) caught 1-5 Beholder in the final 50 yards to win by three-quarters of a length for her first stakes win. Ridden by Tyler Baze, Renee’s Titan ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.14.
“I knew I had it at the eighth pole,” Baze said.
“I skimmed the rail and lost my stick, but she did it for me.”
Losing his whip, and winning the race, was not the only drama for Baze in the Santa Ynez. While galloping out, he was unseated from Renee’s Titan on the clubhouse turn. He was not injured.
“She just ducked out from underneath me,” Baze said. “I guess she wanted to get to the winner’s circle without me.”
Renee’s Titan trailed by more than eight lengths with a half-mile remaining, a margin that Baze said was not a concern.
“I sat on her and was patient,” he said. “I didn’t care how far back I’d be.”
Beholder, trained by Richard Mandella, had every chance to win. Ridden by Garrett Gomez, she caught pacesetter Dawn’s Charm in the stretch, but never had an obvious advantage.
“I thought it looked easy when she drew up at the quarter pole,” Mandella said. “I thought she looked good at the eighth pole. I thought she should be pulling away from that filly. You could see it was getting tough.”
The Grade 2 Santa Ynez was Beholder’s first start since a win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies here in November. She was named champion 2-year-old filly of 2012 at the Eclipse Awards ceremony in Florida this past Saturday.
“I think she came up a little short and maybe was a little over-fresh,” Mandella said. “We’ll get that out of her and hopefully she’ll be back next time. I gave her a nice freshening. Maybe I should have put one more good work in her, but that’s history.”
Dawn’s Charm held third, followed by Switch to the Lead, Imwiththeblonde, Lady Rosamond, and Small Moves in the race for 3-year-old fillies. Dawn’s Charm unseated jockey Edwin Maldonado on the turn after the race, when the filly reacted to Baze being unseated. Maldonado was not injured.
Dawn’s Charm made her stakes debut in the Santa Ynez.
“She ran a big race,” Maldonado said. “I was proud of her. They came at me a little earlier than I wanted.”
Renee’s Titan made her sixth consecutive appearance in a stakes in the Santa Ynez for owner Zillah Reddam and trainer Doug O’Neill.
Renee’s Titan was second in the Phil Shepherd Stakes at Fairplex Park in September and second in the Sharp Cat Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park in November, but was only sixth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on Dec. 8.
A filly by Bernstein, Renee’s Titan has won 2 of 7 starts and $165,400. Renee’s Titan won her first start in a $50,000 claiming race for maidens at Hollywood Park last June.