Eblouissante took care of business in her first race against winners, cruising to an easy 1 3/4-length win as the prohibitive 2-to-5 favorite in a short field of five allowance optional claimers over Santa Anita’s main track.
“She sat nicely when she made her little move, stayed right where Corey (Nakatani) wanted her, and picked it up a little more,” said trainer John Shirreffs. “I thought it was very good.”
This start was delayed by a month after the four-year-old daughter of Bernardini was scratched at Hollywood Park after a minor mishap on her way to the track on race day. She had debuted with an impressive 4 1/4-length maiden win a month prior.
With her sister Zenyatta winning 19 straight starts before missing by a nose to close her career when looking for a repeat Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade 1) title, Eblouissante is the next superstar that racing fans are starving for.
Zenyatta made the leap into stakes action in her third career start, winning the El Encino Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita, and along with owner E N Kronfeld, Shirreffs will decide if Eblouissante will take a similar route.
When asked if Eblouissante will go through her conditions instead of tackling stakes runners, Shirreffs said, “Not necessarily. We’ll see.”
The $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita on February 16 would likely be the spot should stakes action be the decision.
The longest shot in the field at 22-to-1, Pink Blossom dug in to complete the exacta, while 15-to-1 pace setter Folk Dancer held on for third.
While the final time (1:44.4) wasn't the most impressive with maiden claimers running faster in the following heat, Eblouissante took dirt in her face and still won with ease. Her gallop out was most impressive, as she rolled all the way around to the back stretch way in front.
With the winner's share of $34,800, her earnings now sit at $61,800 just two starts into her career.
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