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Beholder

Beholder: faces older opposition for the first time in a hot-looking contest

  PICTURE: Jeff Gross/Getty Images  

Beholder could be beautiful for Stevens

Preview: USA, Saturday 1am (Sun) BST

Santa Anita: Zenyatta Stakes (formerly Lady's Secret) (Grade 1) 1m½f, dirt, 3yo+ f/m

BREEDERS' Cup venue Santa Anita hosts not far off a dress rehearsal for the November 1-2 extravaganza with five Grade 1 events on the Saturday card - and Gary Stevens could be in pole position for yet another banner day in his amazing comeback year.

Stevens, 50, has fancied mounts in several contests, including Breeders' Cup Classic runner-up Mucho Macho Man in the Awesome Again and top turf mare Marketing Mix in the Rodeo Drive.

Perhaps his highest-profile mount, however, is Beholder (Richard Mandella) in the Zenyatta Stakes, which looks the best race on a glittering card.

Winner last year of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Beholder returned with victory in a minor stakes event at Del Mar four weeks ago on her first start since finishing second to Princess Of Sylmar in the Kentucky Oaks.

"She gave me an unbelievable feeling," Stevens said. "It was like driving a brand new Ferrari for the first time."

Beholder faces older horses for the first time in a hot-looking contest also featuring New York invader Authenticity (Todd Pletcher/Martin Garcia), runner-up to dual distaff champion Royal Delta in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga, plus Grade 1 winners Include Me Out (Ron Ellis/Joe Talamo) and Joyful Victory (Larry Jones/Rosie Napravnik).

Also on Saturday

Santa Anita: Chandelier Stakes (formerly Oak Leaf) (Grade 1) 1m½f, dirt, 2yo fillies (11pm BST)

The speedy She's A Tiger (Jeff Bonde/Gary Stevens) breaks from out wide in gate eight as she bids to stretch herself around two turns against three Bob Baffert fillies she beat in the Del Mar Debutante, namely Fascinating and Secret Compass, second and fourth last time, plus Awesome Baby, who flopped as favourite at Del Mar.

Santa Anita: Rodeo Drive Stakes (formerly Yellow Ribbon) (Grade 1) 1m2f, turf, 3yo+ f/m (11.34pm BST)

Only fourth in the Beverly D behind British visitor Dank, Marketing Mix (Tom Proctor/Gary Stevens) needs to score here to reassert her status as California's top grass female. The five-year-old won this 12 months ago before being beaten less than a length by Zagora in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf over course and distance.

Santa Anita: FrontRunner Stakes (formerly Norfolk) (Grade 1) 1m½f, dirt, 2yo (12pm BST)

Late-running Del Mar Futurity winner Tamarando (Jerry Hollendorfer/Julien Leparoux) is out to confirm that Grade 1 form with Dance With Fate and Can The Man, second and third when they met a month ago. Can The Man's trainer Bob Baffert has won this six times; he also runs Roundupthelute.

Santa Anita: Awesome Again Stakes (formerly Goodwood) (Grade 1) 1m1f, dirt, 3yo+ (Sun 1.30am BST)

Mucho Macho Man (Kathy Ritvo/Gary Stevens), narrowly beaten by Fort Larned in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic, gets some match practice at Santa Anita in the leading west-coast trial for America's richest race. Third in the Whitney at Saratoga last month, the five-year-old is ridden for the first time by Gary Stevens as he breaks from the outside in a field of ten.

Golden Ticket (Ken McPeek/Joe Talamo), who dead-heated in last year's Travers Stakes, may also cross the country to try out for the Classic. He also holds a Saturday engagement at Churchill Downs.

Last year's Haskell winner Paynter (Bob Baffert/Martin Garcia), whose comeback from life-threatening illness has been one of the stories of the US summer. He disappointed on sloppy dirt last time, however.

Top turf performer Jeranimo (Mike Pender/Corey Nakatani) has to concede 5lb all round as he makes his dirt debut.

 

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