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Champion Beholder Returns to Win G3, $100,000 Adoration

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.

JOCKEY QUOTES

GARY STEVENS, BEHOLDER, WINNER: “When I got on her, she let out a big sigh, which tells you a horse is relaxed. I said, ‘That’s my mama.’ That was the only thing said between me and Roberto (pony rider) on the way to the gate.

“She left there sweet like she always does. She went over super, super quiet today. I almost thought I had her too quiet. Richard does all the work, along with (exercise rider) Janeen (Painter) and the whole crew and I get to have all the fun and that’s all that was, was fun.

“I had to let her do a little something the last sixteenth because she wanted to. She had fun, I had 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.”

TRAINER QUOTES

RICHARD MANDELLA, BEHOLDER, WINNER: “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, so you’ve got to live with that.

“The Vanity looks like the next step (Vanity Mile, Grade I, $400,000 on June 4). I couldn’t be happier with the way she’s come back at six years old. I’m proud of Mr. (owner B. Waynes) Hughes for letting me have her back (to train).”

Asked how Beholder stacked up compared to other great fillies he has trained: “I think she speaks for herself. I’m going to leave it at that.”

B. WAYNE HUGHES, BEHOLDER, WINNER: “I don’t know how much this kind of race does for her but Richard thought it was the way to go, and he’s in charge.

“Not only am I still thinking about going up against the boys but I want Nyquist to be the Triple Crown winner. Because we got sick last year, 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 don’t have any idea what’s next; Richard makes those decisions.

“It’s a very nice feeling knowing she can train and run up to the Breeders’ Cup here at home. She doesn’t do well traveling. Neither do I though at 82, so we have that in common.

“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. Why not?! She’s having a good time, she’s really happy. 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 so I asked him how he knows. He said, ‘by the girth, it’s bigger!’ So why stop? I see no reason to stop.

“Richard had The Tin Man running here at age eight. He’s the kind of trainer, a rare trainer that can do that. You don’t see a lot of trainers keeping their horses around for long periods of time. Richard is the real deal.”

NOTES: Winning owner B. Wayne Hughes resides in Lexington, Ky. There was a minus place pool of $5,103.48, and a minus show pool of $137,142.55. Of the total show pool of $747,626, $692,457 was bet on Beholder.

Santa Anita Park

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