Beholder works five furlongs, ships to Keeneland on Monday
Unbeaten in five starts this year and a top contender for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), dual Eclipse Award winner Beholder worked five furlongs in 1:02 over the fast track at Santa Anita Thursday morning. The 5-year-old mare is scheduled to depart California early Monday morning for Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky according to trainer Richard Mandella.
“She leaves Monday,” said the Hall of Fame conditioner, who along with other onlookers had a difficult time tracking the mare Thursday due to poor lighting conditions. “I got her in 1:01 and three (for five furlongs), but I couldn’t see…I could see her break off clearly but every time she hit a pole, there was something in the way. It doesn’t matter though.
“That’s all I was looking for. She’s had her races, so we don’t need to create anything at this point, (we) just want to keep her happy. She’s been very happy.”
Under cloudy pre-dawn skies, Beholder, with regular rider Gary Stevens up, came on the main track accompanied by a pony following the 6:30 a.m. (PDT) renovation and jogged straight off from the quarter mile chute through the stretch. Breaking into a full gallop free of the pony midway around the clubhouse turn, Beholder angled down to the rail at the 5 ½-furlong pole, approximately two lengths behind a stablemate and rattled off official splits of :12.40, :24.80, :37.20 and 1:02 en route to the six furlong pole and a gallop out time of 1:16.
“We went off at the five and a half,” said Stevens, who has won nine out of 10 overall starts, all stakes, aboard the fantastic mare. “She just cruised around there. We wanted to pick it up at the five sixteenths. Richard had told me to wait until the quarter pole so I let her extend at the quarter pole and then at the three sixteenths, she wanted to hit the afterburners but Richard didn’t want anything fancy with her.
“That’s as serious as she’ll get before the Breeders’ Cup, that’s all she needed. She’ll have one more tune-up at Keeneland and that’ll be it…If I’m there and he needs me then I’ll be there, but there’s a chance he won’t if he thinks she’ll do too much with me on her back.”
Owned by B. Wayne Hughes, Beholder, a daughter of Henny Hughes, faced males for the first time in the 1 ¼-mile Pacific Classic (G1) on August 22, with the result a resounding 8 ¼- length win. In her most recent start on September 26, she annexed her third consecutive Zenyatta Stakes, winning by a facile 3 ¼ lengths in what was her ninth career Grade 1 win.
In her first post Zenyatta drill, Beholder breezed an easy five furlongs in 1:02 on October 9. Thursday’s drill, 16 days in advance of the October 31 Classic at Keeneland, had a more serious tone over a surface that underwent routine maintenance Wednesday afternoon and was thus playing slower on Thursday morning.
Winner of the 2012 Juvenile Fillies (G1) and 2013 Distaff (G1), Beholder missed the 2014 Breeders’ Cup due to an illness. Her form’s never been better than 2015 and the bay Kentucky-bred will bring an overall record of 20-15-3-0 and earnings of $4,436,600. A win on October 31 versus the best male horses in the world, including the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, would cement Beholder’s status as one of racing’s all-time greats.
Beholder winning the Zenyatta courtesy of Benoit Photos
Brisnet.com 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: http://www.brisnet.com/cgi-bin/special_reps.cgi