11/03/2012 2:01PM

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies: Mandella feels Beholder should be champion


Twenty-four of the previous 28 winners of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies have earned an Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old filly.

Trainer Richard Mandella believes that trend should continue with Beholder, the one-length winner of Friday's $2 million Juvenile Fillies. That, even though she has just one graded stakes on her record while Executiveprivilege, who finished second Friday, is 5 for 6 with two Grade 1 stakes wins, including a nose victory over Beholder in the Debutante.

"I don't know why she wouldn't be [champion]," Mandella said in his barn office Saturday morning. "She's a vastly improved filly from her maiden race, came out of that and got beat the shortest nose in the Debutante by an experienced filly. Everybody had their chance yesterday. It wasn't like anybody did anything wrong. She was the dominant horse. I don't know how you could pick it any other way."

Bob Baffert, the trainer of Executiveprivilege, declined from campaigning for his filly, saying, "I don't have a vote. It doesn't matter what I think."

Executiveprivilege appeared to have dead aim on Beholder in upper stretch but she drifted out in the stretch.

"That shifting out cost her the race," Baffert said. "I don't know why she's doing it."

Mandella said Beholder looked "terrific" Saturday morning and would be given a break until the 2013 Santa Anita winter meet. Mandella said he would dream of the Kentucky Oaks for Beholder next May.

Mandella reiterated that his one concern about Beholder's ability to get a distance of ground was in late summer when "she wouldn't settle down." But once back at Santa Anita following the summer at Del Mar, she started working like a horse that would relax.

"If you look at her workouts, she went a half in 52, three-eighths in 39," Mandella said. "When a horse will do that, you got a chance to stretch them out. Again, I use the word dream about the Oaks. I know my job."

Mandella said he would decide within the next week whether Beholder would remain in his barn or be sent out to a local farm for her vacation.