Spendthrift Farm's Beholder was stellar once again on Saturday, taking the Grade 1, $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks by 2 ¾ lengths to stamp herself as one of the favorites for the May 3 Kentucky Oaks (G1).
Sent to the lead from the outset, Beholder established a two length advantage around the first turn as Garrett Gomez sat calmly aboard the 3-year-old filly. With a two-length lead after six furlongs in 1:10.97 was still on cruise control. Gomez gave his filly a little shake of the reins in mid-stretch, but she was never seriously threatened and rolled home in 1:43.16 for the 1 1/16 miles.
“She ran really well today,” said Gomez. “She left the gate like a shot…and it looked like no one really wanted the lead so I went ahead and crossed over, and was going to dictate it from there.
“I knew she was going to have to work a little harder today, just from the simple fact that (Bob) Baffert (trainer of Fiftyshadesofhay) let my horse get an easy lead in the (March 2) Las Virgenes. I knew his filly would be up on top of me somewhere along the way today, which she was, early.
“Beholder set some decent fractions and stayed on well today. She gives me a 110 percent when we go out there and she’s just a pleasure to be on all the time. The mile and an eighth (in the Kentucky Oaks) will be another question but we’ll see what happens.”
A 3-year-old Kentucky-bred filly by Henny Hughes, Beholder, trained by Richard Mandella, came off a 3 ¾ length win over Fiftyshadesofhay in the one mile, Grade 1 Las Virgenes S. and has now won five of her eight career starts.
“You expect (to win), but with horse racing, you don’t want to expect too much,” said Mandella. “It’ll break your heart. She just did everything right, handled herself well and she’s a very good filly…She’s got the heart of a warrior.”
With the winner’s share of $180,000, Beholder, the 2012 Eclipse Champion Juvenile Filly, now has $1,575,000 in earnings. Her complete record stands at 8-5-2-0.
“I think the Kentucky Oaks might be tougher than the Derby this year,” said Hughes. “We’re looking forward to the Oaks. We can’t go to the Derby. They won’t let us in anymore.”