She was already a star of YouTube, and with nearly 3,000 likes on her
Facebook page at last look, I think it’s safe to say that Eblouissante was one
of the most popular first-time starters in the history of the sport. So when
the dark bay daughter of Bernardini made her career debut in a maiden special
weight today at Betfair Hollywood Park, suffice it to say it would be hard for
her to live up to the hype, but somehow, she did just that.
Almost five years to the day since Zenyatta rolled home, in the first of
many scintillating last-to-first victories, in her debut at Hollywood on
November 22, 2007, Eblouissante looked very much like her older sister with a
powerful rally down the Hollywood Park stretch to win going away by 4 1/4 lengths. Ridden by Corey Nakatani, the big, dark colored filly was content to
sit on the rail and well off the early lead, before angling out for running
room on the turn. From there she looked the part of a 7-5 favorite as she
cruised right up to the front runner early in the lane, and powered home to be an easy winner in 1:45.27 for the 1 1/16 miles.
Eblouissante has made headlines since she landed in John Shirreffs'
stable some 18 months ago. Posting her first breeze at Hollywood about a month
later, the half-sister to the great Zenyatta has been watched closely ever
since. Shirreffs, who also trained her famous older sister, considered running
her as a juvenile, but the patient conditioner did not rush her, and her
numerous fans would also need to be patient for her debut. 43 more published
workout would come and go, with a few notable gaps in training, before she
would throw down a fast :59 1/5, five furlong work on Sunday. She was now
finally deemed ready to go.
While her soon to be Hall of Fame older sister was by Street Cry, Eblouissante
is by one of the most popular young sires in the nation, Bernardini. The
three-year-old filly runs for her breeder, Eric Kronfeld. Zenyatta and
Eblouissante are both daughters of the 2008 Broodmare of the Year, Vertigineux.
A daughter of Kris S., Zenyatta was not the only top runner produced by the
17-year-old mare. Before Big Z, there was Balance, who was a multiple grade 1
winner and million dollar earner in her own right. It should be noted that
Balance also was an impressive winner of her first lifetime start.
And now so too has Eblouissante, winning her career debut today in
dazzling style. Where she goes from here is yet to be determined, but one
thing I am very sure … the world will be watching!
Photo courtesy of Cecilia Gustavsson Felix Photography