Updated on 11/05/2012 4:30PM

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies: Beholder rewards Mandella with victory

Susie Raisher
Beholder leads the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies field in upper stretch.

ARCADIA, Calif. - As usual, Richard Mandella made the right call.

Faced with the options of running the speedy Beholder in the $500,000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint or the $2 million Juvenile Fillies, Mandella went for the Juvenile Fillies.

He and owner B. Wayne Hughes were rewarded for that decision when Beholder, ridden by Garrett Gomez, scored a one-length front-running victory over Executiveprivilege in the Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita.

It was 4 1/2 lengths back to Dreaming of Julia in third. She was followed in the order of finish by Kauai Katie, Spring in the Air, Broken Spell, Renee's Queen, and Almost an Angel.

[BREEDERS' CUP 2012: Friday results and video replays]

It was the seventh Breeders' Cup victory for the Hall of Famer Mandella, all coming at his home track, Santa Anita. It was his third win in the Juvenile Fillies. He won this race in 1993 with Phone Chatter and in 2003 with Halfbridled.

It was the first stakes victory for Beholder, complicating the picture for the 2-year-old filly championship. Twenty-four of the previous 28 Juvenile Fillies winners have been crowned champion.

Executiveprivilege, who had won four stakes, including the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante over Beholder, suffered her first loss in six career starts.

"Quite frankly, as a prejudiced point of view I consider her the best 2-year-old filly in the country and maybe the world," Hughes said of Beholder.

She certainly was the best on this day, facing three undefeated fillies including Dreaming of Julia and Kauai Katie.

Breaking from the rail under Gomez, Beholder made the lead entering the first turn running a quarter in 22.62 seconds. She was pursued by Kauai Katie through a half-mile in 46.47 seconds.

Around the turn, Gomez tried to open up on the field, but Rafael Bejarano, on Executiveprivilege was on the move along the inside. Turning for home Executiveprivilege got through and seemed to be gaining on Beholder, but she drifted out.

Meanwhile, Beholder maintained a straight path and got to the wire first. Beholder, a daughter of Henny Hughes, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.61 and returned $9.80 to win.

"I tried to start putting them away before we turned for home, kind of stretched them out. She pinned her ears at me, and I said 'Oh, no,' " Gomez said. "I thought she was going to hit a wall on me."

Gomez said when Executiveprivilege "run outside of her, she kind of kicked into another gear. She impressed me today."

Mandella said that earlier this summer Beholder did not act mentally like a filly who could get a distance of ground. But when she returned to Santa Anita from Del Mar, she started to "settle down," Mandella said. After winning a six-furlong allowance race by 11 lengths, Beholder remained settled, making it "an easy decision to go for the big money," Mandella said. "She never got upset after the race and that was the concern."

For Executiveprivilege, it was her first loss in six career starts. She had overcome drifting out to beat Beholder in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante, but she couldn't overcome that on Saturday.

"I was in a little tight at the three-eighths pole, I came through finally, but I never thought [Beholder] was going to get tired, she was still running," Bejarano said.