SUPPLEMENTAL NOMINEE HEADS FIELD OF EIGHT OLDER FILLIES AND MARES
ARCADIA, Calif. (April 5, 2015)–Richard Mandella’s two-time Eclipse champion Beholder, idle since winning the Grade I Zenyatta Stakes Sept. 27, will resurface in Friday’s $75,000 Santa Lucia Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, with the Grade I, $400,000 Vanity Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on May 9 as the ultimate objective for the 5-year-old mare by Henny Hughes. Owned by B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm, LLC, Beholder was a supplemental nominee and she heads a field of eight older fillies and mares.
A 5 ¼ length winner of last year’s Santa Lucia, the Spendthrift Farm color bearer ran only three times last year as she was a close fourth in the Grade I, 1 1/16 miles Ogden Phipps Stakes on June 7 prior to her Zenyatta win at Santa Anita.
Blessed with tremendous natural speed, Beholder’s six Grade I wins have all come at The Great Race Place, including the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Voted the nation’s Eclipse Award Champion 2-year-old Filly for 2012 and Eclipse Champion 3-year-old Filly in 2013, she is 15-10-3-0 overall with earnings of $3,368,300. She’ll be reunited with Gary Stevens, who missed her Zenyatta engagement due to reconstructive knee surgery.
Bob Baffert’s Tiz Midnight, who was a close second to Beholder four starts back in the Zenyatta, took the Grade II, 1 1/16 miles Bayakoa Stakes two starts back but was distanced as the 3-5 favorite in the ungraded Paseana Stakes over a wet fast track on Jan. 11. A 5-year-old mare by Midnight Lute, she looms fresh and dangerous in the Santa Lucia.
Bred by Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, Tiz Midnight is owned by Watson, Weitman and Mike Pegram and is 10-4-3-1 overall with earnings of $334,970.
Trained by Keith Desormeaux, California-bred Uzziel pressed the pace in the Grade I, 1 1/8 miles Santa Margarita Stakes March 14, but tired to finish fourth, beaten 8 ¼ lengths by streaking Warren’s Veneda. A 4-year-old filly by Harlington, she’s owned by her breeders, James W. and Tammy McKenney. Uzziel has four wins from 13 starts and has banked $233,138 and will be ridden for the second time in-a-row by Desormeaux’s brother, Kent.
The complete field for the Santa Lucia Stakes, to be run as Friday’s sixth race, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Backintheacademy, Tiago Pereira, 117; Tiz Midnight, Martin Garcia, 123; Melanistic, Tyler Baze, 117; Uzziel, Kent Desormeaux, 117; Gusto Dolce, Flavien Prat, 120; Beholder, Gary Stevens, 123; Oscar Party, Santiago Gonzalez, 117, and Sky Mega, Elvis Trujillo, 117.
First post time on Friday is 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.