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Eblouissante entered in Thursday allowance; Balance to visit Frankel

Eblouissante aims to go two-for-two (Benoit Photos)
Two half-sisters to Zenyatta are back in the news. Newly-turned four-year-old Eblouissante, who scored a visually impressive win in her November 16 debut, is entered in Thursday's 7TH race at Santa Anita. And Zenyatta's older half-sister, the 10-year-old broodmare Balance, is set to visit unbeaten phenom Frankel.

Eblouissante is trained by John Shirreffs, who directed Zenyatta to 19 victories in her first 19 races before she suffered her only defeat in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic.

Zenyatta's legion of fans had been eagerly awaiting the premiere of Eblouissante. Shirreffs brought the Eric Kronfeld homebred along patiently, and Eblouissante recorded works over a 17-month span before she was pronounced ready to race.

Sent off as the 7-5 favorite in her unveiling at Hollywood Park, Eblouissante conjured up images of Zenyatta when she rallied from near the tail of the field to win by 4 1/4 lengths. The final time of 1:45 1/5 for 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track wasn't overwhelming, but the daughter of Bernardini did it the right way, and is very much the type to keep improving.

"I worked her before I rode her," said Corey Nakatani, who retains the mount on Eblouissante Thursday. "She's a special filly. Hopefully, she comes back and runs like she did in her first race. I'm sure John has her spot-on, so I'm looking forward to riding her again."

Eblouissante was expected to make her second start in a December 15 allowance over the same track and trip, only to be scratched after a minor mishap. She banged into a stall door and scraped her hip shortly before she was due to head to the paddock.

The nearly-black filly didn't miss a beat thereafter, though. Right back on the Hollywood worktab on December 21, Eblouissante has since posted three more moves, capped by a five-furlong drill in 1:00 4/5 on Saturday.

Eblouissante will race on dirt for the first time in Thursday's 1 1/16-mile allowance/optional claimer. Only four others are entered, and she is drawn on the outside in post 5.

Her rivals are Torrey Pines Stakes runner-up Viva Carina, most recently fourth in the Grade 3 Autumn Miss on turf; Double Ante, who just missed in an entry-level allowance at Hollywood last out; Pink Blossom; and Folk Dancer, who is in for the $40,000 tag.

Headley Bell tweeted the happy news about Balance (Benoit Photos)
Meanwhile, in other Zenyatta family news, half-sister Balance is just settling into her new quarters in England as she awaits her date with Frankel.

"Balance arrived safely yesterday in England with plans for mating to sensation Frankel," Mill Ridge's Headley Bell tweeted Monday, adding that she is "boarded at Newmarket with Brian O'Rourke."

A multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire herself, Balance captured the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks and Grade 1 Las Virgenes in 2006. At four in 2007, the daughter of Thunder Gulch added the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap and Grade 2 La Canada to her resume.

Balance has produced three registered foals so far -- the unraced four-year-old Mr. Besilu, by A.P. Indy, who topped the 2010 Keeneland September Yearling Sale at $4.2 million; unraced three-year-old Go Nineteen, by Street Cry, a $750,000 Keeneland September purchase who was subsequently exported to Japan; and a newly-minted yearling colt by Smart Strike.

Meanwhile, Zenyatta produced her first foal, a colt by Bernardini, last March, and is currently in foal to Tapit. A nine-year-old by Street Cry, Zenyatta resides at Lane's End Farm near Versailles, Kentucky.

Zenyatta, Balance and Eblouissante are all out of the Kris S. mare Vertigineux, the 2008 Broodmare of the Year.

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