Racing fans had better start learning how to pronounce the name Eblouissante, as the 3-year-old daughter of Bernardini did her best impression of her big sister Zenyatta, sweeping to the lead and drawing off to an easy 4 1/4-length victory in her long-awaited career debut at Betfair Hollywood Park Nov. 16.
Trained by John Shirreffs and owned by Eric Kronfeld, Eblouissante was sent off as the 7-5 favorite in the field of eight. After racing in sixth through the early part, she exploded on the far turn under Corey Nakatani, wore down the pacesetting Saturday Nite Ride, trained by Bob Baffert, in midstretch, and drew off with ease under left-handed urging, while showing off those same gargantuan strides that were Zenyatta's trademark.
Chestnut Moon rallied to just get up for second over Saturday Nite Ride. Ironically, the fourth-place finisher, Belonging, is owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, the owners of Zenyatta. The final time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:45.27.
Eblouissante had opened at 3-5, then steadily climbed to 4-5, even-money, and 6-5 before closing at 7-5.
The emotion-packed crowd, many of whom had lined up outside the paddock early to take pictures of Zenyatta's sister, gave Eblouissante a rousing ovation as she was led in by Shirreffs after the race.
Kronfeld bred Zenyatta and Eblouissante under the name Maverick Productions and sold the dam, Vertigineux, by Kris S., privately in 2009.
Shirreffs, as he did with Zenyatta, took his time with the towering near-black filly, giving her 45 works before finally starting her at almost the same time he debuted Zenyatta, who made her first start on Nov. 22 of her 3-year-old year.
Following the race, Shirreffs told TVG that Eblouissante reminded him so much of Zenyatta it was as if part of the great mare were still there.