On the weekend of October 3-1 November 1, 2014, the eyes of the Thoroughbred Racing will be on Santa Anita Park, as it once again hosts the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Horses of all ages and running styles compete in races over this two day event, which helps decide year end honors in various categories. Horses and their connections from all over the world descend on the host track to compete, making the event a very important one. For those who gamble, there are great chances for money making opportunities. However, the most important part of the Breeders’ Cup is the competition between the equine stars of the great sport of Thoroughbred Racing.
[adinserter block=”1″]Unfortunately, one of the biggest stars of the sport will not be able to compete. She is the defending Breeders’ Cup Distaff Champion Beholder. On October 18, she worked a bullet (a workout where a horse finished with the fastest time for the distance that day) for 7 furlongs in 1:23 4/5, starting behind two other horses. According to her trainer, Richard Mandella, the following day, Beholder spiked a 102° fever which increased to 104 °. She was given medication, and the fever started to come down. Sadly, she had to be scratched.
Richard Mandella said, “We think she’s going to be alright, but she’s out of the race.” ( http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/88119/two-time-champion-beholder-out-of-bc-distaff ) According to the “Daily Racing Form,” Mandella said, “She had a temperature. We had to treat it, and she’s not going to be able to run. ( http://www.drf.com/news/beholder-will-miss-breeders-cup-distaff) The medication given to Beholder was penicillin. Due to the filly being medicated, she was not able to run, and was scratched the day before pre-entry deadline of October 20, 2014.
I was not happy with this news. Beholder is one of my favorite female equine runners. I loved her since she was a 2YO in 2012. She was awesome as a 3YO also. I love the fight in her. She never gives up. I loved how in the 2012 Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies, she lead all the way, and beat ExecutivePrivilege . She took the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Two Year Old Honors that year.
Beholder’s three year old year started off a little rocky. Some sort of ulcer in her throat caused her not to be at her best in the Grade II Santa Ynez Stakes. However, she just dominated Fiftyshadesofhay in the Grade I La Virgenes, and made Iotapa and the rest of the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks field look silly, despite a bad post position. After a second place finish in the Grade I Kentucky Oaks to Princess of Sylmar, she was given a four month break.
She returned in the Torrey Pines Stakes at Del Mar, with new jockey Gary Stevens aboard, (replacing Garrett Gomez.). Beholder took on her elders for the first time in the Grade I Zenyatta Stakes and handily defeated Authenticity. In the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Distaff, not only did Beholder defeat older horses, but she defeated the two time defending champion Royalty Delta, and she beat Princess of Sylmar, who finished last. Beholder won the Eclipse for Outstanding 3YO Filly.
Now that Beholder is a 4YO, she has won the San Lucia Stakes. However, she finished fourth in the Grade I Ogden Phipps Stakes, and came out of it with a bruised pastern. She eventually got back on track, and won the Zenyatta Stakes again, and was training forwardly, until this news of her scratching from the Breeders’ Cup.
Beholder is sired by Henny Hughes. Her dam is Leslie’s Lady, who’s by Tricky Creek. Beholder is 10 wins from 15 starts, and has earned $3,368,300. Beholder is scheduled to be sold at the Fasig-Tipton Sales on November 3, 2014, in Lexington, KY.
As I live in Lexington, I certainly plan to attend. I have never seen Beholder in person, so this will be an honor. It will be bittersweet, as I was hoping that she would be at the sale as a winner of 3 Breeders’ Cup Races in a row. I am glad that Spendthrift Farm, her owners, and Richard Mandella, her trainer, are looking after her health, though.
Some fans think that this year’s Breeders’ Cup has lost some of its luster due to Wise Dan (Mile) and Beholder (Distaff) bowing out due to health concerns. Of course, other stars, like Palace Malice, Mucho Macho Man, and Will Take Charge retired (Palace Malice may return.) this year as well. I don’t agree with that. Look at the horses that (as of this writing) ARE running. We are going to see the wonderful UnTapable, Shared Belief, Tonalist, California Chrome, Bayern, and Close Hatches, to name a few. I am sure that many new stars will be made in both Juvenile divisions as well.
[adinserter block=”2″]I’m disappointed for Beholder. I feel badly for her and her connections that she won’t get a shot to defend her Distaff title. It’s a shame that she can’t have a shot at winning three Breeders’ Cup races in a row. I’m not going to get into whether she would or wouldn’t have won. As a huge fan of hers, I’m very sad that due to an infirmary, Beholder won’t get her shot at her place in history. On the other hand, I am sincerely glad that her connections are putting her health first