Champions Beholder and Stellar Wind have squared off twice, with each bringing home a win and, on Saturday, they meet again in the Zenyatta Stakes (GI), a race formerly known as the Lady’s Secret Stakes but renamed to honor the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) winner and 2010 Horse of the year.
Beholder won the last three runnings of this 1 1/16-mile race (Zenyatta also won the race three times) and looks like a strong bet to return to her winning ways after losing her last two in the Clement Hirsch (GI) at Del Mar (to the aforementioned Stellar Wind) and the Pacific Classic to an impressive group of boys.
Other notable winners of the race through the years include Hollywood Wildcat, Sharp Cat, Manistique and Got Koko.
Beholder, who will likely end her career in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI) in five weeks, is still the early 3-5 favorite to Stellar Wind’s early odds of 8-5 and trainer Richard Mandella is even more confident in Spendthrift Farm’s daughter of Henny Hughes. Beholder is seeking her 18th overall victory from 24 lifetime starts — her 14th at Santa Anita — and has amassed earnings of $4,996,600. She’s hard to bet against.
Hronis Racing’s Stellar Wind seems to like a little more time between her races, so after defeating Beholder in the Clement Hirsch, she was given adequate time to rebound and get back to top form. She’s looked fantastic in the mornings at Santa Anita and hasn’t made one mistake and her outside drew is beneficial with her chief rival and early type Beholder to her inside. He has won three starts at Santa Anita, is undefeated at the distance and will have the services of regular jockey Victor Espinoza once again.
Tara’s Tango is a talented mare and has won at a route, but her best seems to be at a bit shorter in distance. She’s a logical choice to round out the trifecta.
Vale Dori and Off the Road are sure to get decent checks, but they seem a bit outclassed by the top runners here.
The Zenyatta is the afternoon’s 9th with a post time set at 4:45 p.m. PT.