Beholder: faces her toughest assignment this year on Saturday
PICTURE: Jeff Gross/Getty Images
By Nicholas Godfrey 5:51PM 3 JUN 2016
Preview: USA, Saturday 1am (Sun) BST
Santa Anita: Vanity Mile (Grade 1) 1m, dirt, 3yo+
TRIPLE champion Beholder (Richard Mandella/Gary Stevens) faces the first proper test of her six-year-old campaign when she faces off against last year’s champion three-year-old filly Stellar Wind in the Vanity Mile.
Nine times a Grade 1 winner, Beholder was barely troubled to win all five starts in 2015, among them an eight-length romp against males in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar before a planned tilt at the Breeders’ Cup Classic was aborted owing to a shipping fever.
California’s star mare started off again where she left off a month ago with a bloodless victory at odds of 1-20 in a race she could hardly fail to win at Santa Anita, a track at which she has won 12 of her 13 starts – among them Breeders’ Cup victories in both her two and three-year-old seasons.
But she has not raced at a distance as short as a mile since her three-year-old campaign, “It’s a real race this time,” said trainer Richard Mandella, speaking to the Blood-Horse before Saturday’s $ 400,000 event. “She’s doing great, couldn’t be better; we’d like to think she’s going to keep getting better.”
Beholder’s chief rival Stellar Wind (John Sadler/Victor Espinoza) is making her seasonal debut after a seven-month layoff, having been beaten only by the year-older Stopchargingmaria at the Breeders’ Cup after a driving finish. The Santa Anita Oaks winner must break from the rail, next door to Beholder in gate two.
Coolmore’s recent Grade 1 winner Taris (Simon Callaghan/Flavien Prat) has been declared but is expected to wait for the Triple Bend on June 25.
Ladbrokes: 2-5 Beholder, 4 Taris, 5 Stellar Wind, 20 Finest City, 25 Lost Bus, 50 Divina Comedia, 66 All Star Bub
Also on Saturday
Santa: Anita: Shoemaker Mile (Grade 1) 1m, turf, 3yo + (12.30am Sun BST)
Front-runner Heart To Heart (Brian Lynch/Julien Leparoux), beaten by Royal Ascot contender Miss Temple City last time out at Keeneland, comes here still looking for his first Grade 1 victory – despite a career record of six graded wins altogether.
Penn National: Penn Mile (Grade 3) 1m, turf, 3yo (12.40am Sun BST)
Breeders’ Cup winner Catch A Glimpse (Mark Casse/Florent Geroux) is looking for her seventh straight victory as she faces males for the first time in this $ 500,000 event. She gets 5lb from the boys, who may well be headed by her stablemate Airoforce (Trevor McCarthy) and Beach Patrol (Chad Brown/Joel Rosario), who represents powerful connections.