Spendthrift Farm's Beholder turned back a challenge in the stretch from Executiveprivilege to go on to a one-length victory in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) Friday at Santa Anita Park. For Spendthrift's owner B. Wayne Hughes, it was his third Breeders' Cup victory after last year's win with Court Vision in the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) and eventual 2-year-old Eclipse Award winner taking the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) in 2003.
Trainer Richard Mandella was on the fence earlier in the week and had pre-entered Beholder in the Juvenile Fillies and also the $500,000 Juvenile Sprint. The decision proved to be the right one after the speedy 2-year-old filly was able to dole out her ample turn of foot in her first time around two turns.
Hughes said after the race that the choice to run in the Juvenile Fillies was “100% Mandella”.
Like she did in her last two starts, Beholder broke very alertly and had a length and a half lead after a quarter-mile in a solid :22.62 seconds. She maintained that margin down the backstretch as the undefeated fillies Kauai Katie and Executivepriviliege gave chase. Garrett Gomez asked the chestnut filly for more nearing the stretch, and Beholder responded with zeal. With Executiveprivilege drifting out in the late stages, Beholder comfortably held off the challenge to stop the timer in 1:43.61 for the 1 1/16-miles.
"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.
"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, (but) when Executiveprivilege ran outside of her, she kind of kicked into another gear. She impressed me today."
It was the first stakes victory for Beholder, who broke her maiden at Del Mar on July 22, then was beaten a nose in the Del Mar Debutante (G1) on Sept. 1. Her final Breeders' Cup prep came in a six-furlong allowance Oct. 4 at Santa Anita, when she turned in one of the most visually impressive races of the year, winning by 11 lengths with the greatest of ease, getting a gaudy 108 Beyer Speed Figure.
Hughes bought Beholder out of the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale, going to $180,000 for the daughter of Henny Hughes out of Tricky Creek mare Leslie's Lady. She is also the dam of Spendthrift's top-20 freshman sire Into Mischief, himself a Grade 1 winner at two in the CashCall Futurity.