ARCADIA, Calif. (April 20, 2016)–Spendthrift Farms’ multiple Eclipse Award winning filly Beholder was a runaway winner of Sunday’s $75,000 Santa Lucia Stakes at Santa Anita, winning by 5 ¼ lengths under Gary Stevens in her 4-year-old debut while covering 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.67.
Idle since winning the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita Nov. 1, the Richard Mandella-trained Beholder broke alertly from post three in a field of five older fillies and mares. She sat a comfortable second under a long rein around the Club House turn and cruised past pacesetting longshot Legacy leaving the three furlong pole.
“She’s quite possibly the best that I’ve ever sat on, male or female,” said Stevens. “She matured over the winter time mentally. She’s just a joy to be around in the post parade and throughout the race. It’s a feeling I’ve never had before. I’ve had that feeling four different times now…and it only gets better.
“I know everyone said this was a paid workout but I’m relieved…I know Richard is relieved too. It’s nice to get that first one of the year out of the way. Now we can move forward. She’s spectacular.”
The prohibitive favorite at 10 cents on the dollar, Beholder paid $2.20, $2.10 and $2.10.
A winner of the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita, the daughter of Henny Hughes was subsequently voted America’s Eclipse Award winning 2-year-old filly and was voted Eclipse Award Champion 3-year-old filly for 2013.
The Santa Lucia marked her ninth win from 13 starts, with her next engagement pegged as the Grade I, $1 million Ogden Phipps at 1 1/16 miles on June 7 at Belmont Park.
With the Santa Lucia winner’s share of $48,300, Beholder increased her earnings to $3,123,300.
“We’ve got a lot of races in front of us,” said B. Wayne Hughes, owner of Spendthrift Farm, LLC. “I thought she’d run good. She’s doing well and I look forward to a year like we had last year. When she turned for home, I thought ‘Wow!’ Gary never asked her to run. He never let loose on her.
“A horse like this one doesn’t come along that often, so we’re very happy that we have her. You have more anxiety when you’re 1-9 than when you’re 10-1. We’re happy to have her and glad we got her started for the year coming up.”
Mandella, who opted to freshen his stable star up following the Breeders’ Cup, was understandably elated following the Santa Lucia.
“What a great mare,” he said. “I think there’s still quite a bit of room to grow. This certainly helped get her closer to the race in New York and we have plenty of time to get her ready.”
Ridden by top apprentice Drayden Van Dyke, Legacy was a comfortable second, finishing 4 ¾ lengths in front of Irish Presence and Tyler Baze. Off at 11-1, Legacy paid $4.00 and $2.60.
Ridden by Tyler Baze, Irish Presence was off at 17-1 and paid $3.00 to show. She finished 3 ½ lengths in front of Moulin de Mougin, who was the second choice at 7-1.
Live racing returns to Santa Anita on Friday, April 25, with the beginning of the track’s first-ever Spring Meeting. First post time is at 3 p.m. The track will open for simulcast wagering on both Thursday and Friday at 10:15 a.m.