11/01/2013 8:46PM

Breeders' Cup: Beholder, speed bias the talk of Friday's card

Justin N. Lane
Pace-setting Goldencents took advantage of a track kind to speed to win the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Beholder strongly enhanced her chances of being named champion 3-year-old filly with an overpowering victory in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff on Friday at Santa Anita, a day when the speed-biased nature of the main track was a major talking point.

Beholder crushed both Royal Delta and Princess of Sylmar, Eastern invaders who ran poorly. Royal Delta attended the early pace and was in front of Beholder early, but retreated to finish fourth. Despite the loss, she has the best overall resume in her division, the older fillies and mares, and likely will win an Eclipse Award for the third straight year.

[BREEDERS' CUP FRIDAY: Video replays and race results]

Princess of Sylmar lost her best chance at the start when she stumbled, but she never fired, finishing last. She surrendered any faint chance she had of being named Horse of the Year, and now may lose the 3-year-old filly title to Beholder.

Princess of Sylmar and Beholder split their two meetings this year, with Princess of Sylmar narrowly prevailing in the Kentucky Oaks. Both now have four Grade 1 wins for the year. But Beholder owns two wins against older fillies and mares, and made by far the best final impression.

Beholder won the Juvenile Fillies here a year ago, and is based here, so she had the home-track advantage. Princess of Sylmar had never raced in California.

Barbara D. Livingston
Beholder coasts to a 4 1/4-length win in the Breeders' Cup Distaff.

It would be a shame if the day’s speed bias detracts from the quality of Beholder’s win, because, in fact, she did not directly benefit from it. There is no doubt the bias was a major factor in earlier races, particularly the Dirt Mile, but it seemed less so in the Distaff, where horses actually came from off the pace to do well.

Beholder stalked early, while wide, as Authenticity and Royal Delta set off after the lead. She passed those two, and drew off over Close Hatches, who rallied from fourth in the six-horse field to finish second. Authenticity was third.

The Distaff was the last of five Breeders’ Cup races run on Friday, with nine more to follow on Saturday.

Improbable longshots did well in early, non-Breeders’ Cup races, so by the time the Dirt Mile was run, the bias impacted the way it unfolded. Goldencents had drawn the outside post in a field of 12, so jockey Rafael Bejarano sent him hard from the gate to try to get the lead. Despite setting blazing fractions of 22.12 seconds for the opening-quarter mile, 44.75 seconds for a half-mile, and 1:08.64 for six furlongs, he widened his lead from that point to midstretch before coasting home 2 3/4 lengths best in 1:35.12.

“It’s speed favoring,” said trainer Doug O’Neill, who said he and Bejarano had similar thoughts on strategy.

“He kind of had that in his mind, and we loved hearing it,” O’Neill said.

Goldencents has won a pair of Grade 1 races this year, having captured the Santa Anita Derby in April. But that is unlikely to give him enough momentum to get the Eclipse Award for 3-year-old male, a title that could be decided in the BC Classic on Saturday between Palace Malice and Will Take Charge.

It was a warm, 86-degree afternoon, but the weather did nothing to stop the Europeans, who won three of the Breeders’ Cup races - the Marathon on dirt, and both grass races, the Juvenile Turf and Juvenile Fillies Turf.

London Bridge rallied to win the 1 3/4-mile Marathon in his first race on dirt on and on Lasix.

London Bridge was ridden by Mike Smith, who came right back to take the Juvenile Turf with Outstrip in race in which Europeans ran one-two.

Smith has now won a record 19 BC races. Jerry Bailey, now retired, is next with 15.

The Juvenile Fillies Turf went to Chriselliam, who is owned in part by Willie Carson, the former jockey perhaps best known in Breeders’ Cup lore for being aboard Dayjur when he jumped shadows in deep stretch of the Sprint at Belmont Park in 1990, surrendering the race to Safely Kept.

Lasix is not permitted in 2-year-old races at this year’s Breeders’ Cup. Both winners had never raced on the medication, as opposed to the runners who had last raced in the United States and were forced to come off it. The best a U.S. runner could do in the Juvenile Turf was finish third. Horses who last raced in North America were second, third, and fourth in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.

None of the 2-year-old races are expected to have an impact on the Eclipse Awards for their respective divisions. Those titles should be decided in Saturday’s dirt races, the Juvenile Fillies and Juvenile.

Two horses were eased. Ever Rider was pulled up in the Marathon, suffering from nothing more than exhaustion.

Centralinteligence needed to be removed from the track in the horse ambulance because of an injury to his the knee in his right front leg, which X-rays revealed was a fracture of his cannon bone, according to Dr. Wayne McIlwraith, an on-call veterinarian with the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

Lawrence Macselwiney More than 1 year ago
Bias or no bias. Goldencents would have won if that race was run on the moon. He doesn't need the lead to win. They just took advantage of his speed on a track favoring it and ran them off their feet.
papajoe el papi More than 1 year ago
while it is true that santa anita had speed bias you had to bet on the horses that like that track smith has been on fire so you have bet on the horses that he rode that day even the turf was lighting speed I won & lost some idid not bet on game on dude because he was just beating the same old horses even do you always have to respect bobby because he is one of the best trainers in the business but when you have 2 or 3 horses with speed it became more difficult for the dude to win I had D.O.W. & TAKE CHRGE INDY TO ME TAKE CHRAGE INDY IS THE BEST 3 YEAR OLD IN THE COUNTRY that been said the reason why euros keep kicking our butts is because we do not have good horses like we used to their are no more secretariats rhat is a thing of the past the only champion horse that we have is wise dan & think that now is the time to send him to compete over seas because he has beating everything here.
Meydan Rocks More than 1 year ago
Weigh in please. Is there scientific underpinning to the term “speed bias”? I stumbled with a horse player who is a Professor of Physics at nearby Cal Tech (Santa Anita) who insisted that the term “speed bias” is a misnomer… (Re: when "evenly matched" horses run a route of ground on the same track).
sjm80s . More than 1 year ago
Don't understand the complaining. I love the speed bias. I find the fastest horse and win a lot more than other tracks. Playing the horses isn't about picking your favorite runner, it's about picking the best horse. I won a ton of cash and a tournament thanks to Ria Antonia and the track she ran over.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
hate to rain on your parade but on handicapping alone she was impossible to pick.you got lucky .it happens to the best of us on occasion.
Opinion More than 1 year ago
Excellent racing! Thank you Santa Anita! See you next year!
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The winner of the 2012 Breeder's Cup- the state of California, with a threepeat for 2014. throw in the speed bias and you might as well call it the Smith, Stevens and Baffert show. Time for another state/track to step up and collect the tourist revenue, taxes and home field advantage for 2015. Would even prefer the mudbath that was Monmouth.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
The real question here going forward is how much did the speed bias aid the winners..my feeling is the turf was fair overall and most got a trouble free trip even if the sprints on turf are definitely for the specialists who have had success there before. But on dirt we started with a huge bias on Friday that improved slightly late on Saturday in the end its fair to say that the result of the classic was form full MUCHO MACHO MAN and the other 3 behind him were all logical and BEHOLDER was not a huge surprise either. If santa anita made the dirt track less biased than it was on friday and more like it ended up late saturday i think most would not have a problem with the breeders cup at this track. The weather and the mountains in the background were spectacular the handle was good but the biases need to be addressed.
EricIsenhour More than 1 year ago
I don't buy the speed bias stuff. Beholder was definitely not benefitting from a bias. She was sitting third off the rail, made her move on the turn and was much the best. If there was a true speed bias, you would expect at least slightly elevated final times and I didn't see any of that today.
Chris Lowe More than 1 year ago
You mean 1:20 and change for both seven furlong races is not "slightly elevated? I make feet-per-second figures for all the major tracks and a few others and, believe me, those times are more than slightly elevated!
edb More than 1 year ago
So it is speed, speed , speed again. Are you really surprised? Change your plans and get onboard the bus.It would be nice if they run on an honest track like Belmont, but weather is too fickle. I was humbled first day, so thank God for day two. Can't wait for funky 6 1/2f downhill and to see if Wise Dan likes the bias. Have fun and hit a big one.
E T More than 1 year ago
Every single person on here is complaining cause they lost $$$$$ and could not even pick there nose. So when all the jockeys gun there horses today , they will come from off the pace. Bombs away boys and girls!
zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
don't you have some ostrich race somewhere?
Robynrokn More than 1 year ago
Was up on the day, ride the tide. Favor euros on turf, and speed burn baby burn on dirt. Royal D just hadn't looked right all year except in that minor Delaware.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
There was no complaining when Fort Larned beat Game on Dude last year, or wihen Shanghai Bobby or Royal delta won. EAST COAST fans. Funny now all the crying. So the track is the problem when Todd and Mott don't have the horses to win. TIZNOW California bred, California stalled Who kicked Butt at CHURCHILL and The Holy Mother of God BELMONT PARK. History breeders say go with horse for course when the breeders is in Cali. You never thought that last year was a fluke, no you guys just pounded your chest and said we have the superior horses. Don't worry dude and paynter probably are not going to win Classic today. So all will probably be well for you guys. You might have something to go pound your chest about before the days out. Its all about that one race right
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
rahman, when it comes to how fast the track is, seems you're the only one making it a west coast, east coast thing. Not about that for me and many others. Everyone knows Santa Anita plays to speed, always has, but then to pave it and make it ridiculously faster is insane. You can run dirt auto races on that thing on the off days. The east coast horses you name are speed horses, so the reality remains the same, Sure the east coasters may pound their chests a bit and why not when they beat the southern ca horses at their own game. But the reality is, way too fast, way too hard, and not how world championships should be decided. Have you noticed the foot and leg problems. And if it's about east and west trainers, on Breeders Cup Baffert can't find the winners circle with a search warrant. There is a reason for that, maybe two, He's only won with juveniles and sprints and hasn't won anything in a while. His new tactic may work this year, and there is a reason for that as well. Not west coast east coast. Just a silly ridiculous paved dirt highway.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Horsecents I do worry if the track is causing foot and leg problems, I believe the constant bullet work outs from the trainers out here all year around could be the cause as well. Look at pointsoffbench I have not seen his work tab this year so I am not making any accusations. The breeders cup needs a three way rotation, California should not have to change there style of racing. The purses of Breeders Cup and it ramifications on the eclipse award is enough to take a shot. If you have a great horse they can overcome track favoring speed. This event is about seeing if a horse is great not really good, when they are just really good the horse for course wins. Beholder and Goldencents had the most wins at the track. I would of bet GoldenCents at Belmont park and whoever won the most races on that track, none of these horses are special they are just really good. Goldencents best horse against this bunch. GOODLUCK TO YOU TODAY. I like 5,8,9 in Classic. Now watch me get - 30 for saying Goldencents would of ran well at Belmont yesterday. sorry about the capitalization could not help myself.lol. Goodluck again
zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
Sure there were complaints last year. This is not an East versus West coast problem, although some try to turn it into one. Nor is it a problem of SA being a speedway. The problem is that they speed up the track for the BC, turning the every two-turn race on the dirt into a race to the first turn. If you're not near the lead there you have no shot. Just invite a bunch of quarter horses next time out. No need to gather the finest collection of thoroughbreds on the planet. And, for the record, I'm a West coast player, and normally love Santa Anita. Just not with the added speed bias.