Beholder is all alone at the finish of the Zenyatta Stakes.

Beholder is all alone at the finish of the Zenyatta Stakes.

Benoit Photo

Beholder Dominates Foes in Zenyatta Stakes

Gate-to-wire performance from 3-year-old against elders was stunningly good.

Beholder was something to behold in the $250,000 Zenyatta Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park Sept. 28. The 3-year-old stepped up to top company against older fillies and mares and toyed with the field, going gate-to-wire and winning with ease (VIDEO).

Authenticity ran on well for second, with Joyful Victory third. Both of the minor award winners shipped from the East Coast to run in the Zenyatta.

Beholder races for B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm, which bought her as a yearling for $180,000. Richard Mandella trains the daughter of Henny HughesLeslie's Lady, by Tricky Creek, who was bred in Kentucky by Clarkland Farm. Gary Stevens was aboard for the victory, which was clocked in 1:42.11 for 1 1/16 miles on a fast track.

Hughes was celebrating his 80th birthday Saturday.

The Breeders; Cup Distaff (gr. I) beckons Nov. 1 at Santa Anita as Beholder locked up a starting berth with her victory in the "Win & You're In" challenge race.

Despite taking on elders for the first time, Beholders was sent off as the 7-5 favorite in the field of seven. She entered the race off a facile victory in the Torrey Pines Stakes at Del Mar, her first start since she finished second, beaten a half length, by Princess of Sylmar, in the Kentucky Oaks. (gr. I).

Beholder was winning her third grade I stakes at Santa Anita, where she captured the Las Virgenes Stakes last spring and last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) en route to Eclipse Award honors as the nation's leading 2-year-old filly.

Beholder shot out of the gate to the early lead in the Zenyatta, and no one got within a length of her the remainder of the race. Include Me Out was close up early, but Beholder was always going best  through fractions of :23.73, :47.36, and 1:11.28.

Authenticity cut the corner behind the winner and ran on well, getting to within 1 1/4 lengths at the wire. Joyful Victory, who tracked throughout, stayed on for third, 2 1/4 lengths off Authenticity. She was followed by Flashy American, More Chocolate, Via Villaggio, and Include Me Out. Great Hot was scratched.

"I'm very proud of her," said Mandella. "She's a filly that really likes the fight, and it comes out when the race is run. She'll go in the Distaff after this."

"I just try and stay out of her way," said Stevens. "Off the turn she covers two lengths of what a normal stride is. I haven't gotten close to the bottom of her yet."

Beholder returned $5.20, $3.60, and $2.10. Authenticity paid $4.80 and $3, and Joyful Victory $2.60. The $2 exacta returned $23.20.

The win gives Beholder earnings of $1,975,000. She's won seven of 11.