10/19/2015 3:42PM

Beholder arrives for Classic showdown

Barbara D. Livingston
Two-time champion mare Beholder arrives at Keeneland on Monday.

Champion racemare Beholder arrived at Keeneland on Monday to begin final preparations for her Breeders' Cup Classic showdown with American Pharoah, Honor Code, and the rest.

The 5-year-old mare arrived at Barn 60 in Keeneland's Rice Road barn area, where all the Breeders' Cup horses will be housed, shortly before 2 p.m. Eastern, following a flight that departed this morning from California bound for Lexington's Blue Grass Airport, just across the road from the track. Also arriving on the flight were Classic candidate Smooth Roller and Dressed in Hermes, who is possible for the Juvenile Turf.

This marked just the third trip outside of California for Beholder, who finished second in the 2013 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs and fourth in the 2014 Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park, emerging from the latter with a cut on her leg that kept her out of action for several months. The mare's high-strung personality – she famously melted down behind the starting gate before the Oaks – has been one factor in limiting her travel. Trainer Richard Mandella said it also influenced his decision to try the mare in the Pacific Classic against males this summer, where Beholder won by 8 1/4 lengths to punch her ticket to the Classic.

"I thought, 'I need another race, but I don't really want to take her anywhere. If I take her somewhere, I want it to be right here for the Breeders' Cup,’ ” Mandella said. “Because she is excitable, you all saw her come off the van. ... So, I thought, 'I can leave her right here and just try and beat the colts.' "

Indeed, Beholder had one brief loss of composure Monday as she was led to her barn, spooking and leaping on the horse path as Mandella kept a firm grip on the shank. The trainer said the filly has mellowed – somewhat – as she's gotten older.

"It's all similar, but she is a little better than she was when she was younger. Now it's just moments," Mandella said. "She's always had a lot of raw talent, and over the years, she's developed mentally into a professional racehorse."

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After spending a night settling in, Mandella said Beholder will tour the Keeneland track for the first time with "a simple, short gallop" on Tuesday morning. The date of her final pre-race breeze is undecided.

“It will be four, five, or six days out,” Mandella said. “It will just be a maintenance work.”

Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
Ha. Needless to say I disagree with Mike and Frank, ( jokingly I sometimes call him the imposter.) But, it's all good. I think if Mike and I ever met, we'd probably get along good....as we do both love horse racing. Anyway, Beholder DOES deserve to be in the Classic. She is a monster. And even though I truly wish she was in the Distaff, I understand why they are going in the Classic, even though I disagree with the decision. I've said many times, I'm betting Frosted in the Classic. I could go into why, but, I've already done that and let's just say I'm looking for good value. I hope the mare runs her race and runs well, I just think she'll get out run is all. Nothing against her. Back when Zenyatta ran, I bet Z in both Classics. I still think she would of won the 2nd won if not for Mike Smith, but that's just me. Good luck all. Frosted.......you heard it here first.
Veronica More than 1 year ago
sad she took the fever. She has no shot against pharaoh.
mike More than 1 year ago
Thinking you will sing a different tune after the race, the mare will either prevail or finish no less than second.
ed More than 1 year ago
Beholder is a wonderful horse. Two questions are male against female and racing outside of California. She will miss the SA surface and the speed bias. She will keep the pace honest and I don't see AP just running away with the race. I think having her in the race helps Honor Code's chances. She should be in the money and could pull off the upset.
Danny More than 1 year ago
she has a fever and probably will miss the classic
saratogajunkie More than 1 year ago
Hope your wrong...would be a shame, she looks phenomenal
mike More than 1 year ago
You don't know that,there's still time to make the Classic.
Lintball420 More than 1 year ago
She's in
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
Take her out of Cali and race against the boys might just be a no go. Hopefully Papa will pre - entry in yes , the Ladies Classic. where she should go. American Pharoah and the Big horse Honor Code, no way as an owner would I want to take part with and against them , no way. . I like beholder a lot but as a race mare, not as good as the boys In this one ( The BC Classic that is ) sorry. Maybe in the next week she and we find her going against the girls , not the boys....just saying
Frank More than 1 year ago
You people dont know anything about horse racing saying she doesnt belong in the classic....
mike More than 1 year ago
"Just saying" you're so wrong.
Union_Rags More than 1 year ago
Hope 2 C U Sunday.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
great mare but a little hot blooded..it will be interesting to see if she handles the B.C crowd well...if she does she will have a shot .
Frank More than 1 year ago
hasnt she already handled 2 large BC crowds and delivered?
mike More than 1 year ago
Frank, I enjoy your comments.
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
At home in California ,,,,
mike More than 1 year ago
Wait and see.