Age no detriment for Breeders’ Cup veterans Beholder, Stephanie’s Kitten

Profile Picture: James Scully

October 16th, 2015

Nicknamed “The Old Perfessor,” Hall of Fame baseball manager Casey Stengel once said, “The trick is growing up without growing old.”

A pair of former juvenile stars, Beholder and Stephanie’s Kitten, epitomize the saying when it comes to Thoroughbreds. The veteran mares show no signs of decline as they ready for their respective Breeders’ Cup engagements at Keeneland.

A victory by either would be the first of its kind in the 32-year history of the Breeders’ Cup.

Beholder defies conventional standards, a 2-year-old champion who offers her best form at age 5. A person combing through the records of Eclipse Award-winning juvenile fillies won’t find one example that even comes close.

Conditioned by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella, Beholder was named champion 2-year-old and 3-year-old filly following victories in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (2012) and Breeders’ Cup Distaff (2013). She’s always been high class but Beholder won’t be seeking another Distaff title later this month: the daughter of Henny Hughes has bigger fish to fry as a top contender in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Beholder has never been better than two starts previously, decimating the best older male horses in California with an 8 ¼-length romp in the August 22 Pacific Classic at Del Mar. She registered a 112 BRIS Speed rating, the leading figure in this year’s Classic field, and already has the Eclipse Award for champion older mare locked up with a six-race winning streak in tow.

While Beholder will be attempting to become the first winner of 2-year-old race to capture another Breeders’ Cup event at age 5, Stephanie’s Kitten nearly accomplished the feat last year at Santa Anita with a runner-up finish in the Filly & Mare Turf.

Winner of the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs, Stephanie’s Kitten is like the Equalizer Bunny that never stops, garnering Grade 1 victories in four of five seasons of racing. And she won a Grade 2 in the other.

The 6-year-old mare will return to the Filly & Mare Turf in top form for trainer Chad Brown, posting a convincing 1 ½-length score in the October 3 Flower Bowl at Belmont Park. And Brown knows how to get his horses ready, winning three Breeders’ Cup turf races in 2014.

Their longevity of excellence is remarkable and nobody should be surprised to see Beholder or Stephanie’s Kitten prove best on October 31.

Beholder winning the September 26 Zenyatta Stakes courtesy of Benoit Photo

Stephanie’s Kitten winning the October 3 Flower Bowl courtesy of Adam Coglianese Photography has the early Breeders' Cup PPs files available for all 13 races -- 4 on Breeders' Cup Friday (30th) and 9 on Breeders' Cup Saturday (31). Click here to access: