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ECLIPSE CHAMP BEHOLDER OUT TO MAKE AMENDS IN SATURDAY’S GRADE I LAS VIRGENES AS REMATCH SET WITH RENEE’S TITAN; FIELD OF EIGHT TO GO ONE MILE ON DIRT
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 27, 2013)—Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Champ Beholder, America’s Eclipse Champion 2-year-old filly for 2012, will try to avenge her odds-on defeat at the hands of longshot Renee’s Titan in the Grade II Santa Ynez stakes on Jan. 21, as they’ve both been engaged to square off at Santa Anita in Saturday’s Grade I, $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes for 3-year-old fillies going one mile on the main track.
In her sophomore debut, the Richard Mandella-trained Beholder was sent off as the overwhelming 1-5 favorite in the 6 ½ furlong Santa Ynez. Although she appeared to have a trouble-free trip with Garrett Gomez up, the daughter of Henny Hughes battled gamely through the stretch but ended up second-best, beaten three quarters of a length.
Undeterred, Hall of Famer Mandella indicated following the Santa Ynez that he’d point Beholder to the Las Virgenes, despite the setback.
“She just got a little tired, I’d say. She had a nice trip…I think she just got a little tired,” Mandella said.
Beholder has trained forwardly since, and Mandella described her five furlong work this past Sunday in 59.60 as “Sweet.”
Owned by B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm, Beholder has three wins and a pair of seconds from six starts, with $1,245,000 in earnings.
Renee’s Titan, off at 20-1 in the Santa Ynez, is out to prove her come from behind win was no fluke and like Beholder, she too, has also trained forwardly since. A Kentucky-bred filly by Bernstein, she has three works on her tab since the Santa Ynez, two of them going five furlongs from the gate.
Owned by Zillah Reddam, she is trained by Doug O’Neill and has earnings of $165,400. She has two wins and two seconds from seven starts.
Fiftyshadesofhay, who earned a Las Virgenes-best last out Beyer Speed figure of 90 in winning the Grade III Santa Ysabel on Jan. 26 by 5 ¾ lengths, will cut back in distance a sixteenth of a mile and rates a huge chance to win.
The Kentucky-bred daughter of Pulpit pressed the pace in the Santa Ysabel with Rafael Bejarano up and she and Beholder could likely hook up in a speed duel on Saturday. Owned by Pegram or Watson or Weitman, Fiftyshadesofhay is trained by Bob Baffert. With earnings of $106,490, her record stands at 6-2-1-1.
Second to Fiftyshadesofhay in the Santa Ysabel, the Peter Miller-trained Heir Kitty came back to run a close third in the Sweet Life Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course on Feb. 16.
Owned by Bernsen or Makin, she’ll be ridden for the first time by Julien Leparoux. Her record stands at 8-2-2-1, with earnings of $127,572.
The complete field for the Las Virgenes, to be run as the sixth race on an 11-race Big ’Cap Day program, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Ridingwiththedevil, Gary Stevens, 117; Fiftyshadesofhay, Rafael Bejarano, 119; Lady Asano, Jose Lezcano, 117; Speedinthruthecity, Joe Talamo, 117; Beholder, Garrett Gomez, 122; Scarlet Strike, Mike Smith, 117; Renee’s Titan, Tyler Baze, 117, and Heir Kitty, Julien Leparoux, 117.
Special early first post time on Saturday is 12 noon. For additional racing information or to make dining and seating reservations, visit www.santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.