Henny Hughes champion Beholder slammed her rivals to score another consummate victory in the G1 Santa Anita Oaks (1700m) on Saturday.
Beholder was allowed to set the pace under Garrett Gomez and she cruised home for a three length victory over Iotapa (Afleet Alex) and Fiftyshadesofhay (Pulpit).
Beholder (3f Henny Hughes – Leslie’s Lady by Tricky Creek) raced her way into favouritism for the G1 Kentucky Oaks (1800m) on May 3. “One of her weapons is speed,” Gomez said. “She left like a shot and settled very well.”
The Kentucky Oaks will be the longest distance test of her career but Gomez maintains she is game enough to win. “She’s pretty honest,” he said after dismounting at Santa Anita. “I don’t know how much more I had today but she’s fought for me before.”
Beholder has won 5 of her 8 starts and earned an Eclipse Award as Champion USA 2YO Filly in 2012. She finished last year with a G1 triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (1700m) and added another at the elite level in the Las Virgenes Stakes (1600m) on March 2.
Hall Of Fame trainer Richard Mandella rates Beholder on par with his champion fillies Halfbridled and Phone Chatter. “She’s got the heart of a warrior,” he said. “She just does everything right and handles herself so well.”
The Kentucky bred filly was purchased by Spendthrift Farm for $180,000 at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale. She is a half-sister to G1 winner Into Mischief and hails from the extended family of G1 winning stallion Roanoke.
Henny Hughes shuttles from Rangeview Stud in Western Australia to Walmac Farm in Kentucky. He’s in the Top 6 among Australia’s second-season sires with 18 domestic winners this season.
– Karl Patterson