Beholder stars in opening week at Santa Anita

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

May 11th, 2016


A superstar topped the stakes action over the opening weekend of the winter/spring meeting at Santa Anita.

Adoration S. (G3): Spendthrift Farms’ champion BEHOLDER (Henny Hughes) swept to the lead in early stretch and cruised home a facile 2 ½-length winner under the guidance of Gary Stevens. The stellar mare made good in her seasonal debut for trainer Richard Mandella, enduring 1 1/16 miles on the fast main oval in 1:42 3/5.

Royal Heroine S. (G2): Hronis Racing’s NANCY FROM NAIROBI (Sixties Icon) moved into contention nearing midstretch and powered home a half-length winner for trainer John Sadler. The in-form mare went one mile on the firm lawn in 1:37 under the guidance of Abel Lezcano.

Senorita S. (G3): Jungle Racing et al’s STAYS IN VEGAS (City Zip) edged to the front in early stretch and got the best of a long duel in securing a head decision with Alex Solis in the irons. The sophomore filly went one mile on the “good” turf oval in 1:37 4/5 for conditioner Jerry Hollendorfer.

Track Stats

From a total of 37 races held at the Arcadia, California racetrack during the past week, favorites won at a 40 percent clip and the top two betting choices combined for 54 percent of the wins. From 27 frays contested on the dirt oval, six animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (22 percent), while none of the 10 grassy runs this past week were taken in wire-to-wire fashion.

Three of the six wire jobs on the main oval came on Friday when the track was sloppy. With that said, we also saw horses coming from well back on that day, so all types had a chance. We will wait for more races to be run before making any judgments on how either oval is playing.

Meet Totals












15 (40%)

2nd Choices:


5 (13%)

Turf Wire:



Dirt Wire:


6 (22%)





Thursday (5/5)

2ND – EVO CAMPO (Approve) ran down a clear leader in the lane in posting a fine score for conditioner Paddy Gallagher. The consistent filly still has time to develop into a stakes runner with continued improvement.

6TH – LEVELER (Even the Score) outran her odds in a big way with a sharp runner-up finish in this sprint run. The Phil d’Amato trainee was well clear of third behind a fairly sharp winner and shouldn’t be a maiden for long with more efforts resembling this one.

7TH – ROCKET FUEL (Cyclotron) built upon a fine maiden win last out with a facile score over allowance runners on this day, and has now posted a trio of big runs in succession to kick off his career. The four-year-old gelding stopped the teletimer in a swift 1:09 1/5 and looks like a horse with a bright future.

Friday (5/6)

1ST – HOT PERFECTION (Unusual Heat) made us look good with a sharp debut score from a tricky rail post and the John Brockelbank pupil could be any kind going forward. The bay colt is bred to run longer and wasn’t tiring late in this dash.

3RD – CASS IN STONE (Quality Road) had to need the run off the layoff since the fall, but still looked the part in posting a big runner-up performance in this run. The four-year-old gelding was six lengths clear of third in this outing and will be super tough next out with even slight improvement.

Saturday (5/7)

2ND – TENGAS RANSOM (Tenga Cat) was passed in midstretch but fought back gamely in the lane to record a strong second under Tyler Baze. The Jeff Mullins charge surely has ability and will graduate before long.

5TH – STORY TO TELL (Bluegrass Cat) lacks consistency but showed on this day how he can run when on his game, posting a dominant romp for Robertino Diodoro. The four-year-old colt avoided a claim and will be super tough right back with similar if he able to hold his form.

Sunday (5/8)

1ST – SUMMER WINE (Lucky Pulpit) fell a length shy in this downhill dash but ran a big and clear second, posting a fine run off the long layoff. The Bill Morey trainee will likely be very tough in the second start off the layoff.

A Look Ahead

Saturday’s $100,000 Laz Barrera S. (G3) is the lone graded race this weekend at “The Great Race Place.”