ZENYATTA IS ONE OF FIVE GRADE I BREEDERS’ CUP ‘WIN & YOU’RE IN’ STAKES ON BREEDERS’ CUP CHALLENGE DAY AT THE GREAT RACE PLACE
ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 24, 2014)–Two-time Eclipse Award winner Beholder will hope to head down the path to additional Eclipse hardware when she heads a field of six fillies and mares in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Zenyatta Stakes, to be contested at 1 1/16 miles. A winner of last year’s Zenyatta, Beholder went on to take the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita and was subsequently named Eclipse Champion 3-year-old Filly. At age two, she won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita in 2012, en route to being named Eclipse Champion 2-year-old Filly.
Idle since running fourth as the even money favorite in the Grade I Ogden Phipps Stakes at Belmont Park June 7, Beholder will be making her third start of the year on Saturday and will be ridden for the first time by Mike Smith, as she had been ridden in five previous starts by Gary Stevens, who is currently plotting a return to the saddle following a knee replacement.
A brilliantly fast 4-year-old filly by Henny Hughes, Beholder has a high cruising speed and world-class turn of foot–both of which were on display in her 4 ¼ length Distaff tally last year. Trained by Richard Mandella and owned by B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm, Beholder has had a solid series of drills for her return, including a seven furlong work at Santa Anita of 1:25.60 on Sept. 20, best of four at the distance.
She is a phenomenal 8-7-1-0 at Santa Anita and has four wins from five tries at 1 1/16 miles. Beholder is 14-9-3-0 overall, with earnings of $3,188,300.
A last-out winner of the Grade I, 1 1/16 miles Clement L. Hirsch Stakes on Polytrack Aug. 2, trainer John Sadler’s Iotapa was a front-running 10 ¼ length winner of Santa Anita’s Grade I Vanity Stakes going 1 1/8 miles two starts back on June 14 and has proven a consistent graded stakes performer for Hronis Racing. Well versed at 1 1/16 miles, she has two wins and two seconds–including a second place finish to Beholder in the 2013 Santa Anita Oaks.
A 4-year-old filly by Afleet Alex, Iotapa could likely sit second early to Beholder and hope to spring an upset under regular pilot Joe Talamo. Claimed for $50,000 out of her debut run on June 21, 2012, she is 12-6-4-1 overall, with earnings of $796,796.
Trainer Jim Cassidy’s Yahilwa has flashed signs of brilliance on occasion this year and could prove dangerous with Rafael Bejarano engaged to ride for the first time. A close second four starts back to the highly regarded Let Faith Arise in the Grade III Adoration Stakes May 18, the 4-year-old Medaglia d’Oro filly was most recently second as the 8-5 favorite in a 1 1/16 miles classified allowance on Aug. 24 at Del Mar. Owned by DP Racing, LLC, she has three wins, three seconds and four thirds from 20 starts and has earnings of $105,395.
The complete field for the Grade I Zenyatta Stakes, to be run as the fifth race on an 11-race card Saturday with jockeys and weights in post position order: Tiz Midnight, Victor Espinoza, 119; Iotapa, Joe Talamo, 124; Yahilwa, Rafael Bejarano, 119; Beholder, Mike Smith, 121; Wittgenstein, Mario Gutierrez, 119, and Tiz the Key, Tyler Baze, 119.