Champions Stellar Wind and Beholder will get a chance to renew their rivalry on October 1 at Santa Anita Park in the $300,000 Zenyatta Stakes (gr. I). Beholder won round one, taking home the Vanity Mile (gr. I) on June 4. Stellar Wind evened the series on July 30 in the Clement L. Hirsch (gr. I).
“I might have contributed to getting her beat the first time,” said Beholder trainer Richard Mandella. “(I) might have been too easy on her, but that’s just something you can guesstimate. You can’t—there’s no facts to it. The fact is she’s running very well. There’s no way we would ever be disappointed in her. But she’s training very well and I think she’s up to one of her best races coming up.”
Stellar Wind trainer John Sadler is confident in his chances, but knows it will difficult beating the current three-time defending Zenyatta winner Beholder.
“I’m excited,” said Sadler. “The Zenyatta is the last prep before the Breeders’ Cup Distaff and it’s going to be another classic matchup—two great fillies, four Eclipse Awards between them.
“It looks like it’s going to be another epic race. Stellar Wind has trained really well and hasn’t missed a day or an oat, or anything since her last race, so we’re looking forward to it.”
The Zenyatta Stakes is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” event with the winner receiving automatic entry into the Distaff. The race is scheduled to start at 4:30 PM local time and is the ninth race of the day. The five-horse field and starting position is below:
1. Off the Road
3. Vale Dori
4. Tara’s Tango
5. Stellar Wind