With a Hall of Fame resume that already places her among racing's all-time great distaffers, B. Wayne Hughes' Spendthrift Farm's Beholder heads an outstanding field of seven fillies and mares three and up in Saturday's Grade I, $400,000 Vanity Mile at Santa Anita.
Among those joining the three-time Eclipse Award winning Beholder are last year's Eclipse Award winning three year old filly, Stellar Wind and red-hot 5-year-old mare, Taris, who stretches out off a monstrous Grade I win going seven furlongs at Churchill Downs.
To be run for the 75th time, the prestigious Vanity has been shortened from a mile and one eighth and will be contested for the first time at one mile since its inception at Hollywood Park in 1940. Saturday marks the third time the iconic fixture for fillies and mares will be run at Santa Anita.
BEHOLDER: Idle since late September, Richard Mandella's stable superstar galloped in the Grade III, 1 1/16 miles Adoration Stakes here on May 8, winning by 2 ½ lengths under regular rider Gary Stevens, who has guided her to 10 victories from 11 tries. A winner of last year's Adoration as well, Beholder, a 6-year-old Henny Hughes mare who possesses tremendous natural speed, is perhaps best served by a brief listing of her career achievements:
–Eclipse Award Winning 2-year-old filly of 2012
–Eclipse Award Winning 3-year-old filly of 2013
–Eclipse Award Winning Older Filly or Mare, 2015
–With 13 overall stakes wins, she has 11 graded victories, nine of them Grade I's
–She is an amazing 12 for 13 at Santa Anita
–Beholder is undefeated in two tries at a flat mile.
With an overall mark of 21-16-3-0 and career earnings of $4,496,600, Beholder's primary objectives this year are a defense of her victory in last year's Grade I, 1 ¼ miles Pacific Classic versus males at Del Mar and a first-ever start in the Grade I, $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 5. Additionally, owner Hughes stated following her win in the Adoration that if all goes well, Beholder will run again in 2017 at age seven.
“It's very nice knowing she can train up to the Breeders' Cup here at home,” said Hughes, following Beholder's Adoration win. “If she has a good year this year, I'll do it again at age seven. Why not?! She's having a good time, she's really happy…Richard (Mandella) had the The Tin Man running here at age eight. He's the kind of trainer, a rare trainer that can do that…”
STELLAR WIND: Owned by Hronis Racing, LLC, last year's 3-year-old Filly Champ has been idle since running a close second in the Grade I Breeders' Cup Distaff at Keeneland on Oct. 30. Originally based at Laurel Park in Maryland for her first two starts, this Virginia-bred daughter of Curlin has blossomed in trainer John Sadler's care, winning four out of her six starts with him. With Beholder and Taris likely providing some early fireworks, Stellar Wind will likely take back off the early pace with regular rider Victor Espinoza calling the shots from the rail post position. Like Beholder, Stellar Wind is undefeated in two starts at a flat mile. Her overall mark stands at 8-5-1-1, with earnings of $913,200.
TARIS: One of two Simon Callaghan trainees, this 5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by Flatter comes off a sensational 5 ¾ length win in the Grade I, seven furlong Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs May 7 and will be in search of her fourth graded win in her last five starts when she stretches out a furlong here on Saturday. In her only try at one mile, she was an impressive one-turn winner of the Grade III Go For Wand Handicap at Aqueduct four starts back on Nov. 27. A three-time graded stakes winner sprinting, Taris, who drew post four, will likely sit outside of Beholder into the first turn, thus assuring a lively Vanity pace scenario. With an overall record of 13-8-2-2, Taris has earnings of $1,086,260.
THE GRADE I VANITY MILE IN POST POSITION ORDER WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS
Race 7 (of 11)
1. Stellar Wind—Victor Espinoza—121
2. Beholder—Gary Stevens—123
3. Divina Comedia—Joe Talamo—121
4. Taris—Flavien Prat—121
5. Lost Bus—Fernando Perez—121
6. All Star Bub—Rafael Bejarano—121
7. Finest City—Tyler Baze—121
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