After her second work since a second-place run in the TVG Pacific Classic (gr. I), trainer Richard Mandella is leaning toward running Spendthrift Farm's Beholder in the Zenyatta Stakes (gr. I) Oct. 1 at Santa Anita Park rather than training her up to the Breeders' Cup.
"More than likely we'll run her in the Zenyatta," Mandella said. "That's not a guarantee, but that's the plan for now. She's doing great."
The three-time champion worked alone Sept. 9 at Santa Anita and covered five furlongs in 1:02 1/5 under regular exercise rider Janeen Painter. Beholder's first move following the Pacific Classic was a three-furlong breeze in :37 2/5 at Del Mar Sept. 2. Mandella said her next drill will be more "serious."
"She went an easy three and then an easy five," the Hall of Fame conditioner said. "Next week we'll give her a real work.
"She's gone easy and alone, so we might put her out there with a workmate and get a serious work into her. The first two works have been easy, but she just ran a pretty serious mile and a quarter (last month). We're just filling the tank now."
The 6-year-old Henny Hughes mare would be seeking an unprecedented fourth straight victory in the $300,000 Zenyatta. Beholder equaled the race's namesake and 2010 Horse of the Year with a third consecutive victory in the 1 1/16-mile event last year. Zenyatta won the race in 2008, 2009, and 2010 when it was called the Lady's Secret Stakes.
But if she does make it to the gate Oct. 1, Beholder will likely have to contend with Stellar Wind, the only female who has been able to defeat the bay mare since 2014. Hronis Racing's 4-year-old Curlin filly ended Beholder's eight-race win streak July 30 with a half-length victory in the Clement L. Hirsch (gr. I) at Del Mar.
Stellar Wind has been training steadily for the Zenyatta under the guidance of trainer John Sadler. Her last drill was Sept. 3 at Del Mar, where she covered five furlongs in 1:01 2/5.