THE ZENYATTA IS ONE OF FIVE GRADE I, BREEDERS’ CUP CHALLENGE ‘WIN & YOU’RE IN’ STAKES
TO BE OFFERED AS PART OF 11-RACE BLOCKBUSTER CARD ON OPENING DAY
ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 23, 2015)–Fresh off a record-breaking 8 ¼ length win versus males in the Grade I Pacific Classic Aug. 22, superstar mare Beholder will face eight rivals as she seeks a record third consecutive win in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Zenyatta Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.
Trained by Richard Mandella and owned by B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm, Beholder, a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by Henny Hughes, has 10 wins from 11 starts at Santa Anita–her only defeat a second place finish in the 6 ½ furlong Grade II Santa Anita Ynez Stakes in January, 2013.
Beginning with last year’s Zenyatta, Beholder has now rattled off five consecutive victories and should all go well on Saturday, it’s widely expected she’ll suit up for an epic showdown versus Triple Crown Champion American Pharoah and others in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland Oct. 31.
Although her regular rider Gary Stevens was forced to miss last year’s Zenyatta tally due to knee replacement surgery, he has been aboard for her last four wins and in all, has eight wins from nine starts with her and has called her perhaps the best horse, male or female, he’s ever ridden. With eight wins from nine tries at 1 1/16 miles, Beholder’s overall mark stands at 19-14-3-0. She has amassed lifetime earnings of $4,256,600.
Benjamin Warren’s homebred Warren’s Veneda, a close second to Beholder three starts back in the Grade III, 1 1/16 miles Adorations Stakes June 13, was third, beaten 11 ¼ lengths by the top selection in the Grade I Clement Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar Aug. 1 and will try to narrow the gap in the Zenyatta.
A 5-year-old California-bred mare by Affirmative, Warren’s Veneda is trained by Craig Lewis and will again be handled by Tyler Baze. She has four wins from nine starts at Santa Anita and is 26-8-4-7 overall with earnings of $931,612.
Pamela Ziebarth’s homebred My Sweet Addiction, a winner of the Grade I Vanity Stakes three starts back on May 9, was no match for Beholder in her most recent out, as she showed early speed and finished fourth, beaten 12 ½ lengths in the Hirsch at Del Mar Aug. 1. Trained by Marty Jones, the 5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by Tiznow has three wins from eight starts at Santa Anita and is 12-4-2-3 overall with earnings of $348,106.
George Krikorian’s homebred Big Book, who was second to Grade I winning Stellar Wind going a flat mile in the Grade III Torrey Pines Stakes Aug. 30, faces her stiffest test to date on Saturday for trainer Tim Yakteen. A 3-year-old California-bred filly by Mr. Big, she has three wins from four starts and earnings of $198,400.
The complete field for the Grade I Zenyatta Stakes, to be run as the seventh race on an 11-race card Saturday with jockeys and weights in post position order: Oscar Party, James Graham, 119; Savings Account, Drayden Van Dyke, 119; My Monet, Santiago Gonzalez, 119; Big Book, Kent Desormeaux, 116; Kyriaki, Mario Gutierrez, 119; My Sweet Addiction, Mike Smith, 124; Wild in the Saddle, Rafael Bejarano, 119; Warren’s Veneda, Tyler Baze, 121; Beholder, Gary Stevens, 124.
Special first post time Saturday is 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.