Stellar Wind Snaps Beholder’s Winning Streak
Stellar Wind broke Beholder’s eight-race win streak in the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar Saturday as the two met up for the second time in just under two months.
Stellar Wind – last year’s champion 3-year-old filly – turned the tables on last year’s champion older mare, who had beaten her June 4 in the Grade 1 Vanity Mile at Santa Anita Park.
The 4-year-old daughter of Curlin passed the 1-9 favorite after the two dueled in the stretch and finished in 1:41:24, a half-length in front of Beholder.
A bet on Stellar Wind to win paid $11, with place and show bets paying $2.20 and $2.10, respectively.
It was Stellar Wind’s sixth win in 10 starts. She was narrowly beaten in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff, finishing second by a neck to Stopchargingmaria.
“Usually you don’t get what you want for your birthday, but today I did,” Stellar Wind’s trainer, John Sadler, told TVG shortly after her victory. “I’m happy. It’s my birthday wish so it was a great win today.”
He noted that he had gotten questions about why he had decided to run the 4-year-old daughter of Curlin in the 1 1/16-mile race, but didn’t listen to the naysayers and stuck with his plan.
Kosta Hronis of Hronis Racing LLC told TVG, “We really believed in her … We weren’t going to run away from anybody.”
He said the plan early in the year was not to travel since the Breeders’ Cup is at Santa Anita this year.
“We’ll just run our schedule and whoever we run into we run into,” Hronis said, noting that they will probably wait to run Stellar Wind in the Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita rather than heading to the Pacific Classic at Del Mar in three weeks.
Beholder’s trainer, Richard Mandella, said it was too early to determine whether the three-time Eclipse Award champion would be back on the track in three weeks to defend her Pacific Classic title.
Beholder had not lost since a fourth-place finish in the Ogden Phipps Stakes at Belmont Park just over two years ago.
California Chrome’s 2-year-old full sister, R Sunday Surprise, came in fifth in a maiden race Saturday at Del Mar. It was her second race. She came in third in her first try June 16 at Santa Anita.
Triple Crown winner American Pharoah’s highly regarded full sister, American Cleopatra, is set to make her debut Sunday at Del Mar in a maiden race for 2-year-old fillies. She’s trained by Bob Baffert, with jockey Stewart Elliott tabbed for the ride.
Trojan Nation – who finished second in the Wood Memorial Stakes and went on to race in the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont – is expected to meet up with easier company Sunday when he races in a maiden special weight at Del Mar. He’s a son of Street Cry and 1996 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Storm Song.