O’Neill, Bejarano Earn Honors as Top Trainer and Jockey
ARCADIA, Calif. (April 25, 2015)–Superstar mare Beholder, who won the Grade I Zenyatta Stakes on Sept. 26 for a third time, was named Horse of the Meet in Santa Anita’s Autumn Meet Media Poll.
The two-time Eclipse Award-winning mare trained by Richard Mandella for owner B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm overwhelmed seven rivals in the Zenyatta, winning by 3 ¼ lengths under regular rider Gary Stevens. It was the second straight meet Beholder won such honors, having been voted Horse of the Meet at Santa Anita’s Spring Meet earlier this year.
Beholder, who in winning the Zenyatta notched her ninth career Grade I win, was also named Outstanding Older Filly or Mare in the Autumn poll.
In a down-to-the-wire finish, Doug O’Neill won Sunday’s ninth race with favored Cass in Stone to shade Jerry Hollendorfer for the training title, 12-11 and was thus named Outstanding Trainer. O’Neill won with three of four starters on the day to overtake Hollendorfer.
Perennial Southern California king Rafael Bejarano won the riding title in runaway fashion, 25-15, over Mario Gutierrez. It was his 23rd Southern California crown.
Smooth Roller, a four-year-old Hard Spun gelding trained by Victor Garcia for the Lucky Charm Stable, was named Outstanding Older Horse by virtue of his overpowering 5 ¼-length triumph in the Grade I Awesome Again Stakes on Sept. 26.
Among those left in his wake were multiple graded stakes winner Hoppertunity and 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern, both trained by Bob Baffert.
Wild Dude, a 5-year-old Florida-bred son of Wildcat Heir owned by Hollendorfer and Green Smith was voted Outstanding Sprinter off his come-from-behind win in the Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship at six furlongs on Oct. 3.
Om, a front-running son of Munnings trained by Dan Hendricks for the Sareen Family Trust, was named Outstanding Three-Year-Old and Grass horse thanks to his sensational 2 ¼-length romp in the Grade II Twilight Derby on Oct. 24. He had won the Grade II Del Mar Derby in similar fashion on Sept. 6.
Photo Call, a four-year-old Irish-bred filly trained by Graham Motion for Mrs. P.K. Cooper, was named Outstanding Grass Filly or Mare by winning the Grade I Rodeo Drive Stakes at 1 ¼ miles on turf Sept. 26.
Belle Hill, an invader from the Northwest who won the Grade III Autumn Miss Stakes under Leslie Mawing for trainer Larry Ross and owners Aithon Stable, LLC, earned Outstanding Three-Year-old Filly honors.
Oligarch, a seven-year-old Congrats gelding trained by Peter Miller for Rockingham Ranch, was named Outstanding Claimer thanks to his 2 ½-length win for a rare $100,000 claiming price in the eighth race on Oct. 18, a five furlong dash with a $59,000 purse.
The Grade I FrontRunner Stakes for two-year-olds, in which odds-on favorite Nyquist remained unbeaten holding off Swipe by three-quarters of a length, was named the meet’s Outstanding Race.
Ty Kennedy, a 21-year-old from Hiawatha, Kansas, was named Outstanding Apprentice. He won with six of 36 mounts, a respectable 16 percent average.
Reddam Racing and Holly and David Wilson each won four races at the meet to share Outstanding Owner laurels.
Songbird’s impressive 4 ½-length win to remain undefeated in the Grade I Chandelier Stakes was named the meet’s Outstanding Achievement.
2015 Santa Anita Autumn Media Poll
Horse of Meet: Beholder
Sprinter: Wild Dude
Older Horse: Smooth Roller
Older Filly/Mare: Beholder
Trainer: Doug O’Neill
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano
Grass Filly/Mare: Photo Call
Apprentice: Ty Kennedy
3-Year-Old Filly: Belle Hill
Owner: Reddam Racing, David & Holly Wilson
Achievement: Songbird’s Chandelier Win