ECLIPSE RIVALS BEHOLDER & STELLAR WIND HEAD GRADE I, $300,000 ZENYATTA STAKES SATURDAY AT SANTA ANITA; TOP RATED PAIR MEET FOR THE THIRD TIME IN PRELUDE TO $2 MILLION BREEDERS’ CUP DISTAFF ON NOV. 4

 

ZENYATTA IS ONE OF FIVE BREEDERS’ CUP ‘WIN & YOU’RE IN’ CHALLENGE STAKES

 

ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 28, 2016)–Game, set, and now MATCH, as three time Eclipse champion Beholder and last year’s 3-year-old Filly Eclipse winner, Stellar Wind will meet for the third time this Saturday at Santa Anita in the Grade I, $300,000 Zenyatta Stakes, final steppingstone to the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff and a likely engagement with the undefeated Songbird.

With 6-year-old Beholder prevailing by 1 ½ lengths in their initial encounter in the Grade I Vanity Mile June 4, Stellar Wind evened the score with an authoritative half length win in the Grade I, 1 1/16 miles Clement Hirsch on July 30, thus setting up a best out of three scenario on Saturday among a field of five fillies and mares three and up.

 

                BEHOLDER: Unarguably one of racing’s all-time great distaffers, the mighty Beholder comes off a non-threatening second place finish behind California Chrome in the Grade I Pacific Classic Aug. 20. Dispatched at odds of 3-1 versus six males, Beholder, who won the Pacific Classic in 2015, was deftly handled by regular rider Gary Stevens, as he saw no point in over extending the Richard Mandella stable star, suggesting she should have “plenty in the tank” for Saturday’s showdown with Stellar Wind. Fast, but tractable early, Beholder has been virtually invincible at Santa Anita, as she’s won 13 out of her 14 starts here. Owned by B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm, LLC, Beholder is seeking a record fourth consecutive Zenyatta win and her 18th overall victory from 24 lifetime starts. She has amassed earnings of $4,996,600.

 

STELLAR WIND: Fresh and razor sharp, this 4-year-old daughter of Curlin could be sitting on a career-best effort for owner Hronis Racing, LLC and trainer John Sadler. Idle since defeating Beholder on July 30, she seeks her fourth win from five local starts and her seventh overall from 11 career tries. Drawn outside in the Zenyatta five-pack, look for Stellar Wind to be handled aggressively by regular rider Victor Espinoza as he’ll no doubt be intent on applying significant early heat to Beholder. Originally based in Maryland and purchased privately by Hronis Racing in December, 2014, she’ll be making her ninth start for Sadler in the Zenyatta.

 

THE GRADE I ZENYATTA STAKES IN POST POSITION ORDER WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS

Race 9 (of 11)                                                                                                     Approximate post time 4:30 p.m. PST

 

  1. Off the Road–Tiago Pereira–121
  2. Beholder–Gary Stevens–125
  3. Vale Dori–Rafael Bejarano–121
  4. Tara’s Tango–Martin Garcia–123
  5. Stellar Wind–Victor Espinoza–125

First post time on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 p.m. For scratches, late changes and complete morning line information, please visit santaanita.com.