10/15/2015 12:31PM

Beholder works five furlongs toward BC Classic

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ARCADIA, Calif. – With two wins at Del Mar in August and one here at Santa Anita in September, Beholder has maintained a steady race schedule, affording trainer Richard Mandella the luxury of not having to press on her as she gears up to face males Oct. 31 in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland.

When Beholder worked Thursday at Santa Anita, the intent was not so much to get her fit as it was to keep her where she is, which is a pretty good place.

“She’s had her racing,” said Mandella. “We don’t need to create anything at this point.”

With jockey Gary Stevens aboard, Beholder stayed on course for the BC Classic by working five furlongs in 1:02. She began her drill at the five-furlong pole, two lengths behind a Mandella-trained workmate, pulled clear through the lane, was three in front at the wire, and galloped out another furlong.

Stevens called the work “scary good” and said Mandella instructed him “not to do anything fancy.”

 

“All we’ve got to do is have her stay like she’s been, but she’s not,” said Stevens. “She’s taking steps forward.”

Then, looking toward Mandella, Stevens said, “I’ve got a lot of faith in the guy with the hat over there. I’m just along for the ride.”

Beholder has won all five of her starts this year.

“We had trouble last year getting a series of races into her,” said Mandella. “This year, she’s had a nice series of races. We don’t need to build. We just need to keep her where she’s at.”

Beholder is scheduled to leave Santa Anita early Monday, bound for Kentucky. She will work once at Keeneland prior to the BC Classic, but more than getting her used to the surface, Mandella wants to get Beholder used to the surroundings.

Going back to March 2013, Beholder has won 12 of 14 starts. The only losses came when she shipped. She was second in the 2013 Kentucky Oaks after her nerves got the better of her in the post parade and fourth last year in the Ogden Phipps while receiving a severe laceration during the race.

“We’ve had a few bad experiences,” said Mandella. “We’re hoping the third time is the charm.”

To be sure, Beholder is far calmer now than she was at age 3. Regular schooling sessions in the paddock and walking ring are part of the training regimen with Beholder at Santa Anita, and those sessions have paid off. Mandella will do the same at Keeneland.

“She’ll get some schooling, and we’ll work once she’s settled in and happy,” he said. “We’re not looking for any big deal. We’re looking for a big deal on the 31st.”