Beholder continues to impress; speed plays favorably on Santa Anita main track

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

June 8th, 2016


A pair of Grade 1 races topped the Saturday of racing at Santa Anita.

Vanity Mile (G1): Spendthrift Farm’s multiple champion BEHOLDER (Henny Hughes) readily took the lead at the top of the lane and cruised home an emphatic 1 ½-length winner with Gary Stevens in the silks. The six-year-old mare was never in danger stopping the teletimer in 1:35 4/5 for trainer Richard Mandella. It will be interesting to see where she heads next.

Shoemaker Mile (G1): Little Red Feather Racing et al’s MIDNIGHT STORM (Pioneerof the Nile) took the lead soon after the break and gamely held off all comers on his way to a half-length victory for trainer Phil D’Amato. The five-year-old sped one mile on the firm turf in 1:33 2/5 with Rafael Bejarano.

Track Stats

From a total of 28 races held at the Arcadia, California racetrack during the past week, favorites won at a 32 percent clip and the top two betting choices combined for 50 percent of the wins. From 18 frays contested on the dirt oval, six animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (33 percent), while two of the 10 grassy runs this past week were taken in wire-to-wire fashion (20 percent).

Speed was pretty good on the main oval over the weekend with a lot of winners being in the mix early en route to victory. Both Friday and Sunday yielded a trio of wire jobs, five of them of the sprint variety.

Meet Totals












60 (33%)

2nd Choices:


36 (20%)

Turf Wire:


9 (15%)

Dirt Wire:


37 (30%)





Friday (6/3)

2ND – GREEN WITH EDDIE (Square Eddie) was well-backed in this debut offering and ran to his short odds posting a facile tally in the 4 ½-furlong dash. The juvenile finished up in a solid final time and looms as a serious 2yo stakes prospect for conditioner Doug O’Neill.

5TH – ENTRECHAT (Giant’s Causeway) finally put it all together in this downhill dash and really looked good in pulling away in the lane under Flavien Prat. The Neil Drysdale charge was a promising runner earlier in her career and might be getting back to that form.

6TH – Prat booted home another fine winner on the day with BENDABLE (Horse Greeley), who was especially sharp at first asking. The three-year-old filly tracked dueling leaders and pulled clear late, hinting she might be a good one for Richard Mandella.

7TH – LORD NELSON (Pulpit) showed no signs of rust in this sprint with a commanding tally under the guidance of Bejarano. The talented four-year-old could be in line for a big second half of 2016.

Saturday (6/4)

5TH – TOO FAST TO PASS (With Distinction) eyed the leader in midstretch and dominated the final furlong en route to a 5 ¼-length score under Santiago Gonzalez. The six-year-old was claimed out of this race and could be a wise play by trainer Peter Miller.

6TH – TOURIST (Tiznow) did everything but reel in the winner in this turf test and the Bill Mott trainee appears ready to break through at the Grade 1 level with further progress possible.

7TH – Champion STELLAR WIND (Curlin) was never getting to the winner, but she needed the race in her seasonal debut and was running at a shorter than ideal trip. The John Sadler trainee could be a force this campaign with improvement going forward.

Sunday (6/5)

1ST – HUNT (Dark Angel) continued his fine run on the down hill turf course with a sharp stakes triumph over a solid field. The D’Amato trainee won with relative ease and is evolving into one of the better runners on this unique course.

2ND – ARROGATE (Unbridled’s Song) was confronted at the top of the lane and found another gear, rolling home a sharp maiden winner for Bob Baffert. The sophomore colt came home swiftly and will be tough versus winners next time with anything like this showing.

8TH – NAVY HYMN (Songandaprayer) continued his fine run with a powerful allowance tally over a few nice prospects for Richard Baltas. The gelded sophomore was never headed and made it look easy late, and has still been first or second in each lifetime run.

A Look Ahead

There is no graded racing this week at Santa Anita.