Fairytale Ending for Beholder.

Fairytale endings, especially in horse racing, are rare events. Beholder is, as she always is, an exception to the norm. Her swan song in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff will perhaps go down as one of the greatest races of all time. To relive greatness, Beholder entered the gates with one of the most historic fields in racing history. Three reigning Eclipse award winners, Beholder herself as Champion Older Dirt Female, Stellar Wind as the Champion Three-Year-Old Filly who had bested Beholder on two earlier occasions this year, and Songbird as the undefeated Champion Two-Year-Old Filly. On top of that, Grade-1 winners Forever Unbridled, I’m a Chatterbox, Curalina, and the late Corona del Inca made up the rest of the field, with longshot Grade-2 winner Land Over Sea.

It’s not often that a race lives up to its heralded title, but as Songbird rounded the far turn in the lead, with Beholder ranging up on her outside, the crowd at Santa Anita and those watching on television were blessed with one of the greatest stretch runs of all time. Eye to eye, each horse giving it her all, Songbird and Beholder surging in simultaneous strides to the wire. They hit it in synchrony, with Beholder sticking her nose out just a little further than her younger rival’s. The victory was so close that neither side was entirely sure who had truly won. When the photo was posted, it was clear, Beholder had bested Songbird. Needless to say, the feelings of ecstasy out of the Beholder camp were unparalleled.

Fairytale endings, especially in horse racing, are rare events. Beholder is, as she always is, an exception to the norm. Her swan song in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff will perhaps go down as one of the greatest races of all time. To relive greatness, Beholder entered the gates with one of the most historic fields in racing history. Three reigning Eclipse award winners, Beholder herself as Champion Older Dirt Female, Stellar Wind as the Champion Three-Year-Old Filly who had bested Beholder on two earlier occasions this year, and Songbird as the undefeated Champion Two-Year-Old Filly. On top of that, Grade-1 winners Forever Unbridled, I’m a Chatterbox, Curalina, and the late Corona del Inca made up the rest of the field, with longshot Grade-2 winner Land Over Sea.

It’s not often that a race lives up to its heralded title, but as Songbird rounded the far turn in the lead, with Beholder ranging up on her outside, the crowd at Santa Anita and those watching on television were blessed with one of the greatest stretch runs of all time. Eye to eye, each horse giving it her all, Songbird and Beholder surging in simultaneous strides to the wire. They hit it in synchrony, with Beholder sticking her nose out just a little further than her younger rival’s. The victory was so close that neither side was entirely sure who had truly won. When the photo was posted, it was clear, Beholder had bested Songbird. Needless to say, the feelings of ecstasy out of the Beholder camp were unparalleled.

The winners’ circle was a cluster of happy people, more than a few tears of joy were shed, and the party continued into the Champagne Room.

Richard Mandella and his wife Randi left the festivities to walk back to the receiving barn and check on Beholder. Inside, Richard and Jerry Hollendorfer, Songbird’s trainer, shared a moment, shaking hands as congratulations were exchanged and the image of the two Hall-of-Fame trainers’ interchange was frozen in time. A second later Richard confirmed that Beholder had already left the receiving barn and headed back to his barn on the Santa Anita backside hand in hand with Randi.

Upon arriving, Beholder was outside grazing with a swarm of press and fans admiring her from a respectful distance. She looked no worse for wear, and munched contentedly on the grass surrounding the barn. Everyone was joyful, happy to see the Queen end her career on the highest note conceivable. Richard and exercise rider Janeen Painter entertained her fanbase happily into the night, and it was far past dusk when everyone left, her groom Ruben remaining by her side.

Today we at Spendthrift have the great honor of receiving Beholder for her next stage in life, that of motherhood. She spent the greater part of the month winding down from her racing career at Richard’s barn, and Sunday was her last visit to the track. She arrived today on a plane from California, much to the excitement of those here on the farm.

Beholder’s first date will be with Champion Sire Uncle Mo. With just two crops of racing age on the ground, Uncle Mo has already achieved 17 blacktype stakes winners this year. His first crop has produced Kentucky Derby winner and two-year-old champion Nyquist, amongst nine other graded stakes winners this season.

She will enjoy her days spent on the rolling hills of luscious bluegrass here at Spendthrift, where our staff will take on the guardianship of Beholder with honor and excitement. We look forward to a future of laidback maternity and we are quite confident that Beholder will be cared for as lovingly and attentively as she was throughout her career with Richard.

2 Comments

  • Simply the greatest horse race I have ever seen. Even now I can feel her driving to the finish line, refusing to lose. You have to love Beholder. There is a Hall of Fame plaque waiting for her and it is more than well deserved.

  • Delrene Sims says:

    As far as incredible moments at the BC over the years, Beholder and Songbird’s was right up there with Zenyatta’s Classic. Much happiness and health and lots of love to this terrific mare.

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