Beholder, who spectacularly became the first female runner to win the TVG-Pacific Classic, stood in her outdoor pen adjacent to the Richard Mandella barn Sunday morning, greeting a group of picture-taking with American Pharoah-style class and poise Sunday morning.
Folks from her inner circle of connections and outer circle of followers continued to marvel at the 8 ¼-length victory in a time of 1:59.77 that was .66 off the dirt track record (1:59.11) of Candy Ride in the 2003 Pacific Classic. Beholder was accorded a Beyer Speed figure of 114 for the effort, the highest such number of the year, topping a 113 by Honor Code. Here's what they were saying:
Jockey Gary Stevens walked through the stable area and confirming to several questioners that: “Yes, she did it on her own.” Not at his urging.
“I've never felt anything like that and when we crossed under the finish line, I cried,” Stevens said. “I told Richard (Mandella) that and he said, 'I did too' … I had 95 text messages when I came out of the jockeys room afterward and I spent a good part of the night answering them … Between her and American Pharoah this is a great year for racing. Now we have to grab hold and go with it.”
Stevens said he celebrated the win with family and close friends at the Crush restaurant in Solana Beach and closed the place down. “But they close at 10.”
Trainer Richard Mandella looked tired and admitted to it in his stable office. “She (Beholder) is tired this morning and she came out of it better than I did,” Mandella said. “Last night you could have run her again and she might have gone just as fast, she was feeling that strong. But this morning it hits her and she's tired.”
Mandella and his family and friends went to a restaurant at the Rancho Valencia Resort and Hotel. “They've got a drink called the Bourbon Beast which I found very interesting,” he said. “We had a great time.”
Beholder's performance, coupled with a win earlier in the Clement L. Hirsch, made Beholder a “Win and You're In” qualifier for both the $3 million Breeders' Cup Distaff and the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic on October 31 at Keeneland in Kentucky.
“Obviously a lot of windows are open, we have a lot of options,” Mandella said. “We'll take it a step at a time…She'll run one more race before then if it looks to me like it's needed. Fillies take a little more time to recuperate and we've got time now. The Zenyatta (Grade I $300,000, September 26 at Santa Anita) is a good possibility, probably likely, but we'll have to wait and see.”
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