GARY STEVENS, BEHOLDER, WINNER: “It changes every time. If someone told me before the race that we would go in twenty five for the first quarter I would say ‘no way.’ I thought we would go in sub twenty three, forty five and change for the second and I thought the final time would be under 1:34. Twenty five is legit, forty nine is legit, but I think that’s the fastest last three eighths I’ve ever run in my life and she was lovin’ every minute of it.
“She’s like family to me. I don’t spend as much time with her as Richard does and everyone at the barn but she’s very special to me. She’s the best thing I ever have ridden, or I ever will ride. I’m blessed to be on her back.”
VICTOR ESPINOZA, STELLAR WIND, SECOND: “She ran an awesome race. I expected her to run well, but not as well as she did today. This one will prove big for the next one. I’m excited for her. She came back better than before. She had a little more focus in the race, and everything went right today.”
RICHARD MANDELLA, BEHOLDER, WINNER: “Just another great effort. She continues to amaze us all. There was a time when we didn’t think she’d go long. She seems to adjust to what we’re doing. I’m lucky to experience something that very few people in history have – to have a great horse this long. Good horses come along, and there are a few great ones, but to be great and stay great, it really is special. There’s something very special about her.”
“I almost wondered if it was a mistake when I saw 25. I didn’t think you could do that. But you’ve seen her work. She’ll work really slow if we want, and she’ll work fast if we want. She’s really turned into a professional.”
B. WAYNE HUGHES, BEHOLDER, WINNER: “I’m glad Richard took my advice; to win. This means a lot to us.
“It was a very nice effort and I’m glad the pressure is off. Every time everyone expects your horse to win, I think it adds pressure. No real unbelievable news will happen, unless you lose.
“I’ve had a lot of great horses, but not like this. I don’t think this will ever happen to me again. I just heard Gary say she’s the best horse he’s ever ridden and she might well be. She’s definitely the best horse I’ve ever owned; maybe the best horse anyone has ever owned.
“I’ll consider bringing her back at seven only if she’s perfect. She’s better this year than she was last year. She’s bigger, stronger and faster. They put the girth on her and she’s bigger and she loves it so who am I to interfere with her having a good time.
“I thought the pace was going to be blazing hot at the beginning and it wasn’t and I don’t know exactly why. Once I saw that she was positioned, I wasn’t worried. She’s a difficult horse to beat.
“If the boys show up, I’ll take on the boys again.
“Mainly it’s the Breeders’ Cup in November as the main goal. The Pacific Classic is our intention right now but I don’t know the dates of everything, I’m just happy with her winning a race. Even though I take credit for it, Richard makes all the decisions.”
NOTES: Winning owner B. Wayne Hughes resides in Lexington, Ky. There was a minus place pool of $4,650.95, and a minus show pool of $160,051.41. Of the total show pool – $854,497, $791,272 was bet on Beholder.