“I discovered that the horse is life itself, a metaphor but also an example of life’s mystery and unpredictability, of life’s generosity and beauty, a worthy object of repeated and ever changing contemplation.” – Jane Smiley
Truer words could not be said about the horse, and specifically, Beholder. After her disappointing scratch last year from her much-hyped showdown with American Pharoah in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, life’s unpredictability could not have been more clearly felt. Luckily for all those connected with Beholder as well as her fans, she was brought back this season for a campaign that hopefully will culminate with a run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
So far, she has yet to disappoint. Beholder is a gift. She opened her 2016 campaign as a six-year- old with an easy win in the G3 Adoration Stakes, and on Saturday she followed it up with a romp in the G1 Vanity Mile. With that win, Beholder became the only thoroughbred in United States history to score Grade 1 victories for five consecutive years from the ages of 2-6. She now possesses 10 Grade 1 victories to her name. (Giving credit where credit is due, the great John Henry also scored five consecutive seasons of Grade 1 victories from ages 5-9, primarily on the grass).
Maintaining the highest level of performance for such an extended period of time is a true testament to Beholder’s skill and spirit. It is not often that mares can compete at the top level from their juvenile season onward. Beholder has done just that, and Saturday was no exception. Her victory in the G1 Vanity Mile was an impressive feat as she dispatched of last year’s Champion Three-Year- Old Filly Stellar Wind with relative ease, coming home like a rocket, her final quarter in 23.44 seconds. A large part of credit is due to her conditioner, Richard Mandella, who has kept her primed throughout her career.
“She continues to amaze us all. There was a time when we didn’t think she’d go long. She seems to adjust to what we’re doing. I’m lucky to experience something that very few people in history have – to have a great horse this long. Good horses come along, and there are a few great ones, but to be great and stay great, it really is special. There’s something very special about her.” said Richard Mandella, on the mare’s victory.
Hall of Famer Gary Stevens added, “She is the best thing I ever have ridden, or I ever will ride. I’m blessed to be on her back.”
The first 2,000 fans at Santa Anita on Saturday received posters of the super mare, emphasizing the reign of Queen B as one of the Southern California’s racing circuit’s biggest draws, rivaling California Chrome in popularity. At Spendthrift we are grateful for all those who support her and can’t thank her fans enough for their dedication to Beholder.
Beholder is currently on target for the G1 Clement Hirsch on July 30th at Del Mar.