Beholder Wins Eighth Consecutive Race
Beholder, last year’s champion older mare, was facing the toughest rival she has taken on so far this year when she raced against the 2015 champion 3-year-old filly Stellar Wind on Saturday in the Grade 1 Vanity Mile at Santa Anita Park.
But Beholder – backed at 1-5 odds by bettors – kept her victory streak intact, bringing her record to eight consecutive wins. Overall, she has 17 wins in 22 starts in a career that has seen her defeating new rivals at age 6 as others she has faced in recent years have retired.
Stellar Wind, who was racing for the first time since her runner-up finish in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff last October, finished second by 1 ½ lengths, followed by Finest City, Lost Bus and Divina Comedia.
“I never chirped to her,” Beholder’s jockey, Gary Stevens, told reporters after the race. “That was all hers … We came home that last three-eights rolling. I geared her down the last 50 yards.”
He said the bay daughter of Henny Hughes “loves her job and I love riding her.”
The Hall of Fame jockey called Beholder the best horse he’s ever ridden.
“Well, the record will bear it out with what she did in the Pacific Classic last year and what she continues to do,” Stevens said. “I’ve never had a horse’s career at this level last as long and I can’t say that she hasn’t improved. I know she’s strong and with the speed she showed me the last three-eighths of a mile she may have improved again.”
Beholder’s trainer, Richard Mandella, said that he doesn’t know if there’s anybody who can rival Beholder’s Grade 1 wins at age 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, but believes that it “would be a pretty small class.”
Her next race will “more than likely” be at Del Mar this summer – probably the Clement L. Hirsch on July 30, Mandella said. She won that race last year by seven lengths.
As for whether she will then try for a repeat win in the Pacific Classic where she dominated her male rivals last year, Mandella said that is “very much a thought, but we’ll let her tell us if we ought to or not.”
Owner B. Wayne Hughes of Spendthrift Farm LLC says he’s hoping Beholder makes it to the Breeders’ Cup again this year. She won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at age 2 in 2012 and the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in 2013, and Hughes is hoping she’ll make it to a different race – this time the Classic – this fall.
When asked if Beholder is the best horse he’s ever owned, Hughes said, “Oh yeah, maybe the best anyone has ever had.”
Midnight Storm, a 5-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile, collected his first win of the year, but made it a big one with a half-length victory over the Bill Mott trainee Tourist in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile on turf.
After the race, Midnight Storm’s trainer, Philip D’Amato, was met with two questions posed by his 7-year-old son. One was whether the horse was going to the Breeders’ Cup. “We’re already in and definitely plan to run in the Breeders’ Cup Mile,” D’Amato said soon afterward. His son’s other question was about his dad’s future. “I always kid, I tell him the next time we win a Grade 1 I’m going to retire and we’re going to go to Disneyland and he likes it so he’ll be expecting Disneyland.”