Beholder and Stellar Square Off In Zenyatta

Beholder leads Stellar Wind rounding the far turn in the Clement L. Hirsch at Del Mar on Saturday.

Beholder leads Stellar Wind rounding the far turn in the Clement L. Hirsch at Del Mar.

Champions Beholder and Stellar Wind have squared off twice, with each bringing home a win and, on Saturday, they meet again in the Zenyatta Stakes (GI), a race formerly known as the Lady’s Secret Stakes but renamed to honor the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) winner and 2010 Horse of the year.

Beholder won the last three runnings of this 1 1/16-mile race (Zenyatta also won the race three times) and looks like a strong bet to return to her winning ways after losing her last two in the Clement Hirsch (GI) at Del Mar (to the aforementioned Stellar Wind) and the Pacific Classic to an impressive group of boys.

Other notable winners of the race through the years include Hollywood Wildcat, Sharp Cat, Manistique and Got Koko.

Beholder, who will likely end her career in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI) in five weeks, is still the early 3-5 favorite to Stellar Wind’s early odds of 8-5 and trainer Richard Mandella is even more confident in Spendthrift Farm’s daughter of Henny Hughes. Beholder is seeking her 18th overall victory from 24 lifetime starts — her 14th at Santa Anita — and has amassed earnings of $4,996,600. She’s hard to bet against.

Stellar Wind

Stellar Wind

Hronis Racing’s Stellar Wind seems to like a little more time between her races, so after defeating Beholder in the Clement Hirsch, she was given adequate time to rebound and get back to top form. She’s looked fantastic in the mornings at Santa Anita and hasn’t made one mistake and her outside drew is beneficial with her chief rival and early type Beholder to her inside. He has won three starts at Santa Anita, is undefeated at the distance and will have the services of regular jockey Victor Espinoza once again.

Tara’s Tango is a talented mare and has won at a route, but her best seems to be at a bit shorter in distance. She’s a logical choice to round out the trifecta.

Vale Dori and Off the Road are sure to get decent checks, but they seem a bit outclassed by the top runners here.

The Zenyatta is the afternoon’s 9th with a post time set at 4:45 p.m. PT.

Margaret Ransom
California native and lifelong horsewoman Margaret Ransom is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program. She got her start in racing working in the publicity departments at Calder Race Course and Hialeah Park, as well as in the racing office at Gulfstream Park in South Florida. She then spent six years in Lexington, KY, at BRISnet.com where she helped create and develop the company’s popular newsletters, Handicapper’s Edge and Bloodstock Journal.

After returning to California, she served six years as the Southern California news correspondent for BloodHorse, assisted in the publicity department at Santa Anita Park and and was a contributor to many other racing publications, including HorsePlayer Magazine and Trainer Magazine. She then spent seven years at HRTV and HRTV.com in various roles as researcher, programming assistant, producer and social media and marketing manager. She has also walked hots and groomed runners, worked the elite sales in Kentucky for top-class consignors and volunteers for several race horse retirement organizations, including CARMA.

Margaret’s very first Breeders’ Cup was at Hollywood Park in 1984 and she has attended more than half of the Breeders’ Cups since. She counts Holy Bull as her favorite horse of all time. She lives in Pasadena with her longtime beau, Tony, three Australian Shepherds and one Golden Retriever.