74th RUNNING OF PRESTIGOUS FIXTURE FOR FILLIES & MARES TO BE CONTESTED AT 1 1/8 MILES
ARCADIA, Calif. (May 6, 2015)–In what shapes up as a showdown between royalty and blue collar toughness, two-time Eclipse Award winning Beholder takes on streaking California-bred Warren’s Veneda in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Vanity Stakes at 1 1/8 miles, a race that has attracted a field of five fillies and mares aged 3-and-up. One of America’s most prestigious races for fillies and mares, the Vanity was run at the now-shuttered Hollywood Park from 1940 through 2013 and will be hosted by Santa Anita for the second consecutive year.
Owned by B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm and trained by Richard Mandella, Beholder’s lofty resume, which includes six Grade I victories, clearly establishes her as one of the top distaffers of her era and assures her certain Hall of Fame induction. Chief among her list of high profile Grade I accomplishments are wins in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, the 2013 Santa Anita Oaks, back to back wins in the Zenyatta Stakes in 2013 and ’14, and a dazzling 4 ¼ length win in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by Henny Hughes, Beholder cruised to a 3 ¾ length win in the restricted, 1 1/16 miles Santa Lucia Stakes on April 10, her first start since winning the Grade I Zenyatta on Sept. 27.
Blessed with tremendous natural speed, Beholder will again be ridden by Gary Stevens, who has been at the controls in six out of her last seven starts, resulting in five wins. A winner of the Distaff at 1 1/8 miles, her only other try at the distance resulted in a close second place finish in the 2013 Kentucky Oaks. Beholder is 16-11-3-0 overall with earnings of $3,416,600.
California-bred Warren’s Veneda, who is trained by Craig Lewis, enters the Vanity at the peak of her game, having taken her first Grade I, the 1 1/8 miles Santa Margarita Stakes by 7 ¼ lengths on March 14, her third consecutive win.
Owned and bred by Benjamin C. Warren, the 5-year-old mare by Affirmative, out of the Flying Continental mare More Cal Bread, earned a career best 99 Beyer Speed figure in the Santa Margarita and would benefit from a fast pace, although she’s proven she can lay close early if need be. A five-time stakes winner, Warren’s Veneda got her first graded stakes win two starts back in the Grade II Santa Maria on Feb. 14, a race in which she was last early and rallied to win by 2 ¾ lengths at 1 1/6 miles.
Winless in eight starts last year, Warren’s Veneda is 22-8-3-5 overall with earnings of $827,612. She’ll again be ridden by Tyler Baze, who has been up for all three wins this year.
Pamela Ziebarth’s homebred My Sweet Addiction comes of a sharp gate to wire score going 1 1/16 miles March 20 and seeks her first stakes win in the Vanity. Trained by Marty Jones, she earned a career best 89 Beyer Speed figure on March 20 and has an overall mark of 9-3-2-3, with earnings of $148,106.
Well beaten by Warren’s Veneda in her last three starts, trainer John Sadler’s Legacy has three wins from 19 starts and will hope to reverse her recent fortunes in the Vanity.
In addition to Beholder, Brazilian-bred Gas Total was an impressive one mile turf allowance winner in her U.S. debut March 29 and will try dirt for the third time in her 26th career start.
The complete field for the Grade I Vanity Stakes, to be run as the fifth race on a nine-race card Saturday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Warren’s Veneda, Tyler Baze, 124; Gas Total, Flavien Prat, 119; Beholder, Gary Stevens, 121; My Sweet Addiction, Mike Smith, 119, and Legacy, Martin Garcia, 119.