Photos courtesy Benoit & Associates
Racing last of seven 3-year-old fillies through a half-mile, Renee's Titan launched a sustained rally along the rail to stun champion Beholder in the $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) on Jan. 21 at Santa Anita Park.
In her first start since winning the 2012 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Santa Anita and just days after being named champion 2-year-old filly of 2012, Beholder was sent off as the 1-5 favorite in the 6 1/2-furlong Santa Ynez. The return to sprinting didn't seem to bother Beholder, who rated off a hot pace and drew even with early leader Dawn's Choice in mid-stretch.
But as Beholder—highweight at 123 pounds—dueled late with a resilient Dawn's Choice, Renee's Titan continued her sustained rally along the rail; a move she would continue even after jockey Tyler Baze lost the whip in upper stretch. Under energetic handling, Renee's Titan would grab the lead late and open a three-quarter-length advantage at the wire.
"I just sat on her and was as patient as I could be," Baze said. "I didn't care how far back we were but by the 3/16ths pole I knew it was time to get going. I skimmed the rail there, lost my stick, but she was running so I just did whatever I could to keep her going."
Zillah Reddam's Renee's Titan completed 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.14 to secure the first stakes victory of her career. The 3-year-old Bernstein filly returned $43.80 to win, $7.80 to place, and $4.20 to show. Beholder edged Dawn's Choice by a nose for second, returning $2.20, $2.10, and Dawn's Choice returned $3.20 to show.
After the race, Renee's Titan dumped Baze but horse and rider were uninjured.
"She's done it before, but mostly in the mornings," Baze said. "She dumped Kevin Krigger in a workout, so we keep company with her, always, always. She's so tough to train, we keep switching horses, not the same horse every morning, because she'll run them out. We do what we have to. She's likes to be athletic, so be it.
"She's got a few problems in her head, but she can really run when she holds it all together and she proved that today."
Trainer Doug O'Neill claimed Renee's Titan for Reddam out of her winning debut in a maiden claiming race on June 21 at Betfair Hollywood Park. After showing promise in that race, she has twice placed in stakes races, including a runner-up finish in her only other career dirt start—the Phil D. Shepherd Stakes at Fairplex Park. She also rallied strongly in that race.
Richard Mandella, trainer of Spendthrift Farm's Beholder, said it appeared the daughter of Henny Hughes tired a bit in the stretch. He plans to point her to the $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes on March 2 at Santa Anita.
Michael House's Dawn's Choice earned her first stakes placing after registering an opening quarter mile in :21.14 and half-mile in :43.67 and continuing well to the wire.
Bred in Kentucky by Mr. and Mrs. John Liviakis, Renee's Titan is the first foal out of the Tiznow mare Titan Queen. John Liviakis started Renee's Titan in her winning debut, when she was claimed for $50,000.
For an Equibase chart, click here.
RENEE'S TITAN SNUCK UP THE RAIL TO GET THE SANTA YNEZ WIN