Pacific Classic next for Beholder after Hirsch domination?
Which begs the question: could the $1 million Pacific Classic S. (G1) on August 22 possibly be next for the superstar mare?
Her connections – owner B. Wayne Hughes of Spendthrift Farm and trainer Richard Mandella – threw out that possibility in the post-race interview.
At first Mandella said the conservative thing to do would be to wait for the Zenyatta S. (G1) on September 26 at Santa Anita, but then casually mentioned if Beholder looked good enough she might return in three weeks for the Pacific Classic.
The five-year-old would be facing her first real challenge of the year after easily adding wins in the Santa Lucia S. and Adoration S. (G3) to her resume this season. She also captured last year’s Zenyatta as her final prep for a title defense run in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), but had to bow out of the championship event due to illness.
Beholder will continue to beat up on the same mares again and again if she stays in the distaff division on the West Coast. She proved that in the Hirsch, yet again facing Warren’s Veneda, My Monet, Legacy and Yahilwa.
Jockey Gary Stevens remained chilly nearly the entire race, settling Beholder just off the flank of early leader My Sweet Addiction with Honey Ride to her inside and My Monet on the outside. Honey Ride suddenly gunned it up the rail to take command on the backstretch and Stevens didn’t try to restrain Beholder when she eased up to run in tandem on the outside of My Sweet Addiction.
Honey Ride couldn’t maintain her momentum and began fading nearing the turn. Stevens was still motionless as Beholder glided to the front and pulled away upon hitting the lane.
He finally showed her the whip a few times, probably to make sure she actually got something out of the race considering the ease with which she was running, and the pair sailed home to be seven lengths clear on the line while stopping the clock for 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.81.
Beholder is well on her way to earning a third Eclipse Award, as well as a second win in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), if she continues in the same vein. It would be nice to see her face a real challenge against the boys in the Pacific Classic, where her biggest threat could come from the 1 1/4-mile distance.
That possibility will probably now be debated quite a bit until a final decision comes down from her connections.
Beholder photo courtesy of Cecilia Gustavsson/Horsephotos.com