Envoutante has always been a filly who was good, but often not quite good enough to break through at the highest levels. Trainer Kenny McPeek attempts to change that by sending the now 5-year-old mare to Santa Anita Park’s Grade 1 Beholder Mile.
“Envoutante is going to work next Friday or Saturday, and we’re working on travel logistics, but right now, the plan is to bring her. We’re also working on a rider,” McPeek told Santa Anita’s Ed Golden.
By entering Envoutante in the March 5 event, McPeek avoids Eclipse Award-winner Letruska in the Grade 3 Royal Delta at Gulfstream Park. He had nominated Envoutante for that races. And McPeek attempts to win his second consecutive Beholder Mile, a race named after the four-time Eclipse Award champion and three-time Breeders’ Cup winning filly who starred at Santa Anita. McPeek captured last year’s Beholder with Swiss Skydiver, who beat her fellow Class of 2017 foal in the 2020 Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga.
This has been Envoutante’s hurdle throughout her 16-race career. Three of her six career victories came in graded stakes races. Two of those came in the same Grade 2: the Falls City Stakes at Churchill Downs. That provided Envoutante’s last score, blitzing last November’s Falls City by six lengths. She’s won that race the last two years.
Envoutante finds the last class step daunting
But Envoutante is 0-for-4 in Grade 1s. She has knocked hard at the door, finishing second by a length to Shedaresthedevil in the 2021 La Troienne at Churchill Downs. And there was that third by nearly seven lengths to Speech in the 2020 Ashland at Keeneland.
There was also that fourth in the Alabama and a fifth by 6 ¾ lengths in her last Grade 1 outing: last November’s Spinster at Keeneland. That came against a loaded field including winner Letruska, runner-up Dunbar Road, show horse Bonny South and superfecta filler Crystal Ball. That was the only time Envoutante missed the board in her last five races.
Yet when you add it all up, Envoutante is 6-2-4 in her 16 races, amassing $931,658 in earnings. That means even a runner-up finish in the $500,000 Beholder would put the daughter of Uncle Mo over the $1 million mark.