Photo: Benoit Photo
The coronation was consummated Saturday evening in South Florida.
The stage was thus set for newly anointed 2012 Eclipse Champion Filly
Beholder’s 3-year-old debut in Monday’s Grade II, $150,000 Santa Ynez
Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs—but despite sunny skies and a game-time
temperature of 81 degrees, upstart Renee’s Titan
and Tyler Baze rained
on the champ’s parade, executing a come-from-behind, three quarter
length victory at 20-1, while getting the distance in 1:16.14.
“She just got a little tired, I’d say,” said trainer Richard
Mandella regarding Beholder’s performance. “She had a nice trip…I think
she just got a little tired.”
Despite the setback, Mandella indicated Beholder would likely be
pointed to the Grade I Las Virgenes Stakes at one mile on March 2.
Last at the half mile pole and well off early fractions of 21.14
and 43.67, Renee’s Titan was six lengths behind a six furlong clocking
of 1:09.22, but rallied furiously along the rail to get up under Baze,
despite the fact he lost his whip in upper stretch.
Renee’s Titan, the fourth choice in the seven-horse field, paid $43.80, $7.80 and $4.20.
“I have a lot of confidence in this filly,” said Baze. “I’ve
been working her from the gate in the mornings for Doug (winning
trainer, O’Neill) so I knew she would break well…I just sat on her and
was as patient as I could be. I didn’t care how far back we were but by
the three sixteenths pole, I knew it was time to get going.
“I skimmed the rail there, lost my stick, but she was running so I just did whatever I could to keep her going.”
Owned by Zillah Reddam, Renee’s Titan was first-out maiden
$50,000 claiming winner on June 21, but had gone winless in six
subsequent starts, her most recent being a well beaten sixth place run
in the Grade I Hollywood Starlet going 1 1/16 miles on Dec. 8.
“When she was behind a lot of horses, I was hoping to finish at
least third,” said O’Neill’s assistant, Leandro Mora. “When she started
running like that, I knew we had a huge chance.”
A Kentucky-bred filly by Bernstein, Renee’s Titan picked up
$90,000 for the win an increased her earnings to $165,400 from an
overall mark of 7-2-2-0.
Beholder, who broke cleanly from post position seven with
Garrett Gomez, was attentive to the pace and ran gamely to the wire,
finished a nose in front of 8-1 shot Dawn’s Charm and Edwin Maldonado.
“I had expectations of a win, but she’s coming off her first
race since the Breeders’ Cup, going two turns,” said Gomez. “She
cruised up there like she was going to be fine and I got the wrong
answer, not the one I was looking for. She’s a gamer, she’ll bounce
back and we’ll see what Richard does with her next.”
Beholder paid $2.20 and $2.10. Dawn’s Charm returned $3.20 to show.