Beholder All Business in Torrey Pines Tuneup


Vacation time may be over for Beholder but last year's champion 2-year-old filly simply toyed with her four rivals in the $100,000 Torrey Pine Stakes Sept. 1 at Del Mar .

Beholder led from start to finish over four 3-year-old filly opponents to win by 2 3/4 lengths while running the one-mile distance in 1:36.30 for the Hall of Fame team of jockey Gary Stevens and trainer Richard Mandella. Stevens replaced Garrett Gomez, who had ridden the filly in all of her previous starts.

Beholder, a three-time grade I winner, was given some time off after finishing a tough second in the Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) by half a length to Princess of Sylmar May 3 at Churchill Downs.

"She was a complete professional today," said Stevens after his first race on the daughter of Henny Hughes   owned by B. Wayne Hughes' Spendthrift Farms.

"She ran like we expected her to," Mandella said. "This is horse racing; sometimes it can look too easy and everything goes wrong. But she's a beautiful animal. I didn't really have any moment of worry. She was very much in control and she does everything so easy."

Mandella said Beholder would be pointed to the Zenyatta Stakes (gr. I) Sept. 28 at Santa Anita Park.

Looking ahead to a potential date in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) Nov. 1, Stevens added, "I don't think distance will be any concern. I don't think a mile and an eighth will bother her at all. I don't think a mile and a quarter will bother her. She's just all class."

Breaking from post 4, Beholder sped between horses to take the lead, opening up quickly by two lengths after a :24.21 opening quarter mile. She continued to show the way while under a good hold from Stevens, stepping the half in :48.75 and six furlongs in 1:12.83. Inching away off the turn, Beholder opened up a 2 1/2-length advantage and came home comfortably in front without urging from Stevens.

"This is the fourth time I've been on her (counting morning works)," Stevens said. She's been working well and against some good horses in the morning. That mile the other day (1:38 4/5 on Aug. 21) was a really good move. Today I was just a passenger. And this was basically a workout for her."

Beholder, bred in Kentucky by Clarkland Farm out of the Tricky Creek mare Leslie's Lady, increased her earnings to $1,825,000 with six wins and three seconds in 10 lifetime starts. The bay filly was a $180,000 Keeneland September yearling sale in 2011.

The winner carried 123 pounds and paid $2.20, $2.10, and $2.10. Wittgenstein, the longest shot in the field at 24-1, held second under Mario Gutierrez and returned $6.80 and $3.80. The exacta was worth $22.20. Charlie Em, the only other graded stakes winner in the field, was a half-length back in third with Gomez aboard, paying $2.60.