Everyone has been pressing trainer Richard Mandella about the same thing: when is Beholder going to make her 2016 debut? The answer is a bit surprising.
Mandella hinted that Beholder is pointed towards either the Royal Heroine Stakes on May 6th, or the Adoration Stakes on May 8th. Interestingly enough, the Royal Heroine is a one mile turf race with a bounty of $200,000. The Adoration covers 1 1/16th mile on grass, but offers half the purse. “She has never run on turf,” Mandella gleaned, “but the Royal Heroine is worth $100,000 more.”
There is little explanation for why the public is so eager to see Beholder back on the track, no matter what the surface is. She completed a dazzling 2015 campaign where she went undefeated through five races, adding to a record that stands at 15-3-0 in twenty starts.
Beholder’s first major victory came at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in 2012. Since then, she has built a thorough and precise career. Beholder has also won the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Distaff, the Santa Anita Oaks and is a three-time champion at the Zenyatta Stakes.
The horse racing world was robbed of an opportunity to see Beholder clash with American Pharoah when the former incurred a respiratory infection that prevented her from competing at the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic. After spending much of last winter recovering, she has been training steadily throughout the year.
A turf debut would be something new and interesting, and the results would likely be the same. Mendella has not indicated whether or not Beholder, now six-years old, will point towards the world championships this year. The objective seems to be the Vanity Stakes, valued at $400,000. For now it seems that Beholder’s handlers are taking her 2016 season one step at a time. After a strenuous and competitive five-year old season, you can hardly blame them for exercising patience.