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Beholder stars in Santa Anita Oaks
The stakes action on Santa Anita's Saturday card will kick off in the Grade 1, $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks, which will feature a rematch between champion juvenile filly Beholder and Fiftyshadesofhay.
The pair met up last out in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes, with Beholder easily pulling off the 3 3/4-length wire victory over her rival. The Richard Mandella charge was looking for a return to the winner's circle after a stunning loss to 20-1 shot Renee's Titan in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez. Not long after that race, though, Beholder was diagnosed with a throat ulcer and returned to the form that saw her taking the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies last year.
Gomez never lost faith in the filly and will be back in the irons on Saturday.
Fiftyshadesofhay ran herself into Kentucky Oaks contention when taking the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel by 5 3/4 lengths on January 26 for Baffert. The Pulpit filly put in a good effort in the Las Virgenes, but was clearly second best that day.
Baffert and Mandella will each saddle a second runner in the Santa Anita Oaks in maiden winner Black Witch and allowance victress Spellbound, respectively.
The Oaks field is completed by allowance scorer Could Be Trouble and the unbeaten Iotapa.