CHAMPION BEHOLDER RETURNS TO WIN GRADE III, $100,000 ADORATION BY 2 ½ LENGTHS AS STEVENS, MANDELLA & HUGHES TEAM FOR 1 1/16 MILES WIN IN 1:42.73

 

OWNER HUGHES SAYS GOAL IS TO FACE NYQUIST IN BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC IN NOVEMBER AND TO RUN AGAIN IN 2017 AT AGE SEVEN

 

ARCADIA, Calif. (May 8, 2016)–Idle since Sept. 26 and the prohibitive 1-9 favorite, Spendthrift Farm’s Beholder made short work of five rivals in taking Sunday’s Grade III, $100,000 Adoration Stakes by 2 ½ measured lengths under Gary Stevens. Trained by Richard Mandella, the three-time Eclipse Award winner got 1 1/16 miles under a snug hold in 1:42.73.

Breaking from the far outside, the 6-year-old mare by Henny Hughes relaxed well but was caught four-wide into the Club House turn outside Moyo Honey, All Star Bub and Sheer Pleasure. Approaching the three furlong pole, Beholder was a length off Sheer Pleasure and took command while in-hand leaving the quarter pole.

“She left there sweet like she always does,” said Stevens, who has now guided Beholder to victory in 10 of his 11 engagements with her. “She went over (to the gate) super, super quiet today. I almost thought I had her too quiet. Richard does all the work, along with (regular exercise rider) Janeen (Painter) and the whole crew and I get to have all the fun, and that’s all it was, was fun.

“Being off as long as she has is a tribute to Richard and Mr. Hughes showing that kind of patience. The sky’s the limit for her. She didn’t take so much as a deep breath when I pulled her up. She’s a very happy mare.”

In what has become a regular occurrence, Beholder, who had $692,457 bet to show on her, created a minus show pool of $137,142. She paid $2.10, $2.10 and $2.10.

“She was supposed to win this race, and that usually makes trainers more nervous than anything, because you realize how bad you look if you get them beat,” said Mandella. “The Vanity ($400,000, Grade I, one mile on June 4) looks like the next step.”

Spendthrift owner, B. Wayne Hughes, pointed out that he’d flown Stevens back from yesterday’s Kentucky Derby in his private jet to ensure the Hall of Fame jockey was back at The Great Race Place in time to ride his superstar mare, who he said would be pointed to a hopeful engagement with Nyquist in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 5.

“Not only am I still thinking about going up against the boys, but I want Nyquist to be the Triple Crown winner,” said Hughes. “We were hoping to run against American Pharoah, but she got sick and we weren’t able to. It’s very important to us to be able to take a shot at a Triple Crown winner. I think it would be amazing.

“I had a long talk with Gary on the plane flying back this morning and he told me she’s bigger and better than she ever was before…It was my decision to run her at age six, but Richard approved it. If she has a good year this year, I’ll do it again next year at age seven.”

In winning the Adoration, Beholder improved her record at Santa Anita to 12 wins from 13 starts and her overall mark now stands at 21-16-3-0. With the winner’s share of $60,000, she increased her earnings to $4,496,600.

Ridden by Martin Garcia, Sheer Pleasure was off at 7-1 and paid $2.40 and $2.10.

All Star Bub checked in third with Rafael Bejarano and paid $2.60 to show.

Fractions on the race were 24.01, 48.25, 1:12.44 and 1:36.44.

Racing resumes at Santa Anita on Thursday with first post time at 2 p.m.