As far as most were concerned there was only one race on Saturday at Santa Anita Park: the Vanity Stakes, starring Santa Anita’s favorite mare, Beholder.
She might not be the star Zenyatta was but the swarming crowds all vying for the perfect spot to get a photo of her show her status. It was one of those days where nobody was there until everybody was there and that was just to see Beholder. Then everybody left again and the track was quiet once more. She deserves that hype, that love and that recognition because there seems to be no defeating the now six-year-old Beholder on her home track.
Leading up to that race saw Plus Perfect and Brayan Pena run clear in the First for a good $10.20 Win payout.
Bombard and Flavien Prat also upset the Second with a good run for the win, with favorite, Dark Energy falling back to seventh.
Heavy favorite Adair drifted out and took some urging but came through under Edwin Maldonado the win the Third. An inquiry was made into the early part of that race, due to multiple instance of bumping, but no changes were made to the order of finish since it appeared no single horse was responsible for the trouble.
Multiple scratches whittled the Fourth down from nine runners to six, and favorite, Angel Lane did not disappoint under a hand ride from Flavien Prat, giving him his second win on the day.
Santiago Gonzalez rode Too Fast To Pass to a clear win over Wildfire Kid and Chad Lindsay in the Fifth.
The Sixth race, the famed Shoemaker Mile (Grade I) for three-year-olds, saw some of the best in the country go head-to-head. Favorite was East Coast invader Heart to Heart, so named because of the heart-shaped marking on his forehead. The English Channel colt however placed fourth, with Midnight Storm and Rafael Bejarano pulling the upset.
There, of course, was no beating Beholder and Gary Stevens in the Seventh, the Vanity Mile (Grade I). She held her ground easily behind the front runner, Lost Bus, then inched ahead and was ridden away in the stretch, with Stellar Wind gamely chasing for second. Gary Stevens took time after the race for a long line of fans awaiting signatures, all holding posters, which were given away for free all day. I took Gary back a few years when I instead asked him to sign a saddle cloth from Seattle Sleet, a son of Seattle Slew from the early 1990s. Thanks, Gary! It looks great on my wall.
In the Eighth race, Reflected Star and Victor Espinoza dueled down the stretch against Broken Up and Tyler Baze, with Reflected Star drawing away to win. Nearly 50-to-1 shot Tomasino rounded out the trifecta, which paid over $600.
Horse Greedy and Tyler Baze held another battle in the stretch run with Americanize and Mike Smith in the Ninth race. Horse Greedy took the lead just before the wire, creating a $42.10 exacta. Favorite Westfest finished third.
Ike Walker, with Joseph Talamo aboard, held a short lead over Fusaichi Samurai and Victor Espinoza in the 10th, providing another good payout, then in the 11th and final race on the card, 25-to-1 longshot Skelton Pass and Tyler Baze inched away from Film Freak and Hobbits Hero to take the win, ending the day with yet another high payout.
Meanwhile, over in Pennsylvania, Canada’s 2015 Horse of the Year, Catch a Glimpse took the lead in the stretch and never looked back, beating the boys with casual ease in the Penn Mile. Love to see the girls given a chance to prove themselves against the boys, and I have a feeling we’ll see that again in the Breeder’s Cup Classic this year, as I hear tell Beholder’s connections are planning on running her. I have no doubt that, if she is fresh and healthy, she’ll be the best, even though California Chrome is having an amazing year. It sounds like she’ll try the boys prior to that though, aiming for a repeat in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar.
— By Carrie Lynn Barker, who shares her thoughts, observations and photos of the horse-related activities from her near-weekly visits to Santa Anita Park on Saturdays during racing season (all photos by Carrie).
You can view Carrie’s photos and this blog at her website CLB Photography: Life behind the Lens (clbphotography.org).
Carrie is a photographer who lives in Monrovia with her screenwriter husband Brandon and is Chief Member Concierge at the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce.
Carrie has written seven stories published as ebooks and has produced several films. She has also been Operation Manager of Barfly Staff Monitoring Services since 2010.