A rematch awaits as the reigning Champion Older Mare, Beholder, will line up against the reigning Champion Three Year Old Filly, Stellar Wind on Saturday at Del Mar in the G1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes. The pair last met in the G1 Vanity Mile on June 4 th , when Beholder won by a length and a half. Stellar Wind, a Curlin filly owned by Hronis Racing and trained by John Sadler, looks to rebound off of her seasonal debut loss.
Beholder took the Clement L. Hirsch last year, winning by an easy seven lengths over Yahilwa. She followed that up with an absolute route over the boys in the Pacific Classic Stakes, before scratching out of the Breeders’ Cup Classic. If all goes according to plan and Beholder proves that she is made of the same mettle as 2015, she will follow that path to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, this year hosted at Santa Anita. She will first have to dispose of Stellar Wind, who should be fighting fit coming into the Clement L. Hirsch second off a layoff.
Three other horses are entered in the race, including The Dream (Chi), a multiple G1 winning Chilean import who debuts in the United States for top conditioner Jerry Hollendorfer, current trainer of undefeated champion Songbird. Simon Callaghan sends out Divina Comedia (Fr), coming in off of a win in a listed stakes after running fifth to Beholder in the Vanity Mile. Entries are rounded out by another Mandella runner, Off the Road (Brz), eighth in an allowance in her last start.
The race is named after the thoroughbred owner and businessman, Clement L. Hirsch. Hirsch was born in 1914 and in 1936 started the Dog Town Packing Company, which grew into a pet food empire. Hirsch was also a thoroughbred owner, known for his forty-plus year partnership with the highly respected trainer Warren Stute. The pair campaigned such horses as Figonero, winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup, Snow Sporting, winner of the Charles H. Strub Stakes and Gulfstream Park Handicap, and Magical Maiden, winner of the Hollywood Starlet and Las Virgenes Stakes.
Other notable horses to win the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes have been Zenyatta, a three-time winner, Azeri, a two-time winner, and Bayakoa. Beholder’s final work heading into the race was a five furlong move in 59.20 seconds on Sunday, earning the rare west-coast clocker label of “breezing.” Trainer Richard Mandella was quite pleased with the result.
Beholder drew gate one in a field of five. Gary Stevens, Beholder’s regular rider, has the mount. Post time is at 5:40 PM PT.