We had the pleasure not only of stopping by Los Angeles amidst Awards Season last week, but also Santa Anita Park. This was no standard visit. We would be going to meet one of Horse Racing’s brightest stars, the reigning queen and three-time champion, BEHOLDER.
We’ve been a fan of the six-year-old mare who in 20 stars to date, has been a model of consistency, excellent and if not, improving with every start. Her career has seen two Breeders’ Cup victories in her two and four-year-old seasons, a rarity. She has missed the top three only twice in her career, which has seen some delays unfortunately due to health issues.
2015 was a stand-out year for the super-mare who became the first female horse ever to win the $1-million Pacific Classic Stakes and did she ever make it easy, crushing them by over eight lengths! She has amassed over $4.3 million in earnings for Spendthrift Farm.
The Richard Mandella trainee was poised to upset American Pharoah last November in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, as he bid to become the first horse ever to win a Grand Slam. Unfortunately, the stars didn’t align despite her being at Keeneland already for the big race and unwell that day. We’ll forever wonder what could have been. Oddsmakers do however, have her pegged as the favourite to win the 2016 renewal of the race this fall in her home court, Santa Anita.
After an extended absence, she is eyeing a return to the races soon. One unique thing about Beholder‘s personality we learn is that although she technically still is on vacation mode currently, Andrea Mandella, daughter of Trainer Richard Mandella, tells me she has the ability to hone-in and focus when it’s crunch time. She just simply knows.
The mare certainly is stunning. The first thing we noticed is how strong and thick her hind legs are. Her demeanour is gentle and she loves her Peppermints, specifically the type manufactured by Target. Although I’d bring her some mint varieties from Canada which would be sure to shock her tastebuds! She possessed a great gentleness to her, occasionally reaching-in to kiss her trainer, Mandella and aware of the camera.
Thanks to the generosity of Spendthrift Farm, Richard, Randi and Andrea Mandella, we are able to bring you a rare peek into Beholder‘s world.
See some Snaps:
Stay tuned for details on that eagerly-awaited 2016 return for Beholder.
Too exciting! Those of you who follow my Horse Racing Blog Posts will remember how passionate I was about pretty much the greatest Filly who ever existed, Zenyatta. The Superhorse retired with a phenomenal 20 Race Record of 19-1-0, and believe me her final Race in the $5-million 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic was such a close one, giving it all her might against the Boys only to lose by a slight nose. While we’re waiting for her Babies to make it to the Track, we have her Sister to keep us plenty interested!
If History/Genetics should repeat itself, we have every reason to be super-excited for Zenyatta‘s Half-Sister Eblouissante (her name in French means “dazzling”), who just turned four-years-old recently, running brilliantly today at Santa Anita Park in California. The beautiful Filly originally was to run her second race last month but unfortunately had bumped her hip the day of that Race, resulting in the decision to give her a bit more time off.
She proved she was well worth the wait today, winning with a little bit of effort as the Heavy Favourite, silencing her v. few Disbelievers. Laying low at the back of the pack for much of the Race, she rallied late showing them who’s Boss to win by 1 1/4 lengths almost a full second quicker than in her Debut at Betfair Hollywood Park. By comparison though, Big Sister Zenyatta‘s first try at the popular distance of 1 1/16 miles, was a four full seconds quicker back in 2007.
Trainer John Shirreffs, who also handled Zenyatta, is hinting a step-up in class next time out in a Stakes Race, her first real test of ability. We soon will know just how great she truly is either mid-February or mid-March.
Watch the Race below (she’s #5):
I had the pleasure of meeting Corey Nakatani, Jockey of Eblouissante – or just Ebby as her Fans call her – back in 2011, as he treks out to Toronto’s Woodbine Racetrack a couple times a year for some of our bigger Races. Can’t wait to see him up north again this Season!