Eblouissante (pronounced EH-BLUE-EE-SANT), a 4-year-old half sister to the legendary Zenyatta who is also conditioned by John Shirreffs, faced winners for the first time in Thursday's $58,000 Mojave River Purse at Santa Anita and at odds of 1-2, left little doubt that she has stakes races in her future, winning by 1 3/4 lengths while covering 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.89.
Like her near-perfect sister, Eblouissante broke slowly in the five-horse Mojave River, but unlike Zenyatta, showed good tactical speed under Corey Nakatani, as she was just 5 lengths off pacesetter Folk Dancer and Julien Leparoux midway around the Club House turn. By the time the field hit the top of the stretch, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Bernardini had taken Nakatani to a head advantage over over 44-1 shot Pink Blossom and Alonso Quinonez.
“She's such a big filly,” said Nakatani. “They ran away from her a little, so I just dropped her steady inside. The plan was to see how she handled the dirt today and she handled it better than we thought she would. Obviously, it didn't bother her. What more can you say, except that I'm ecstatic she's back and in John's care. She's tremendous.”
Trained by Bruce Headley, Pink Blossom made Eblouissante work to the wire and under some urging, Nakatani increased his advantage in the final sixteenth of a mile.
“She sat nicely,” said Shirreffs. “She moved up nicely. She stayed right where Corey wanted her, and at the end picked it up a little more. It was very good.”
An impressive debut winner at Betfair Hollywood Park on Nov. 16, Eblouissante is now a perfect two for two. She paid $3.00, $2.40 and $2.10. With the Mojave River winner's share of $34,800, she hiked her earnings to $61,800.
Shirreffs indicated that Eblouissante's next start would be determined in consultation with owner/breeder Eric Kronfeld, who is based in New York.
Pink Blossom, who finished 2 ¼ lengths clear of Folk Dancer, paid $10.80 and $6.40. Folk Dancer returned $4.60 to show.
There is a Pick Six carryover of $59,161 into Friday at Santa Anita and it is expected Friday's total Pick Six pool will exceed $300,000.
First post time is at 1 p.m. and the Pick Six will cover races three through eight.
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