After Beholder's last timed workout in preparation for the $300,000 Zenyatta Stakes (gr. I), just more than a week out from the Oct. 1 race, trainer Richard Mandella said she is ready to take on Stellar Wind in a rematch of champions.
"She couldn't have looked better," the Hall of Fame trainer said Sept. 23 after the 6-year-old daughter of Henny Hughes covered six furlongs in 1:12 3/5 under jockey Gary Stevens and earned the rare Southern California "breezing" tag, seemingly reserved for her and Songbird's workouts. "With her, you'd be surprised if she didn't work good. Gary had a big smile on his face."
It was the Spendthrift Farm runner's third work since she moved from Del Mar to Santa Anita Park for the fall, and fourth overall since she ran second to California Chrome in the $1 Million TVG Pacific Classic Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 20. Earlier this summer, in the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (gr. I) July 30, Stellar Wind became the only female to defeat Beholder since June of 2014 and snapped the three-time champion's eight-race unbeaten streak.
Mandella said after the Hirsch that he didn't have Beholder entirely geared up for the race and the trainer bristled a bit Friday when asked about the upset loss, but reinforced his confidence in his mare.
"I don't want to talk about it any more," Mandella said of the Hirsch. "I think she's as good as she can be (for the Zenyatta)."
Beholder's drill was the fastest of 10 works at the distance Friday over the main track at Santa Anita. The second-best time was 1:14 1/5, shared by Spectacular One and Swinging Star. To further put the move in context, only one five-furlong workout at Santa Anita out of 63 was faster than 1:00 (Toowindytohaulrox, :59 4/5).