Five and a half months removed from a tour de force in the
Breeders’ Cup Distaff, Beholder will make her 4-year-old debut Sunday.
The two-time Eclipse Award-winner will go postward in the
Santa Lucia Stakes, along with six other fillies and mares. The group will go 1
1/16 miles on the Great Race Place’s main track, and the champ will carry a
highweight of 123 pounds (conceding six to the other runners, who will tote 117
Beholder has finished worse than second just once, and it
was in her career debut. Her award-winning campaign last year featured four
Grade 1 victories, including her Distaff win over Princess of Sylmar and Royal
Delta, among others. On paper, this is her race to lose. She has won six of
seven career starts in Arcadia, and the Richard Mandella-trained daughter of
Henny Hughes has a series of consistent works to her credit. Additionally,
regular rider Gary Stevens, who called Beholder one of the smartest horses he’d
ever ridden after her most recent triumph, will be aboard.
That said, there is ample talent lining up against her, and
the most popular alternative for bettors looking to beat Beholder may be kin to
another star female. Eblouissante, Zenyatta’s half-sister, will attempt the
upset for the John Shirreffs barn. She was second in her return from a long
layoff last out, and her worktab boasts consistent longer moves that could
signify an improvement off her most recent outing.
Also in the field is Magic Union. John Sadler’s filly has
not won since last summer at Del Mar, but her last attempt was a strong
second-place finish in the Grade 2 Azeri at Oaklawn Park. The winner that day
was the classy Close Hatches, who returned to capture the Apple Blossom last
Legacy, Moulin de Mougin, City At Dawn, and Irish Presence
complete the field, which will be sent on their way at 4 p.m. Pacific time
Sunday afternoon. It’s the feature on Santa Anita’s Easter Sunday card, one
that consists of nine races.