The Kentucky Oaks will take place on Friday at Churchill Downs with the Kentucky Derby the following day. But there will be some other big horse racing events on the docket as well–after the two big races in Kentucky, Sunday’s ‘main event’ will likely be in California where superstar mare Beholder is scheduled to make her 2016 debut in the Grade 3 Adoration Stakes at Santa Anita.
Beholder might not be a familiar name among casual sports fans or the general public but in the horse racing world she’s a huge deal. The six year old mare is held in such high regard that when Wynn Las Vegas opened futures betting on the Breeders’ Cup Classic earlier this year she was installed as the 5/1 favorite. She’s now the second favorite behind Dubai World Cup winner California Chrome at 9/2. She’s also among the top choices in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff–a race she won in 2013. Beholder is currently a 12/1 choice to win the Distaff and the only reason she’s not price at shorter odds is the likelihood that she’ll run in the BC Classic instead.
When we last saw Beholder it was last September when she won the Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita for the third time in her career. She enters the 2016 season on a six racing winning streak having won 15 of 20 career races and finishing lower than second only twice. The two 4th place finishes on her resume are the only starts where she failed to finish ‘in the money’. Beholder is trained by Richard Mandella and at this point in her career her connections are only interested in prestiguous, big money races. She’s running in next Sunday’s Grade 3 Adoration Stakes at Santa Anita where she’ll be a big favorite. It’s a tuneup for the first ‘real’ challenge on her schedule for the season, the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap one month later.
Owner B. Wayne Hughes watched her final timed workout in preparation for her return to competition: “I was happy. She looked good. It went a little slow the first part but that was because of a traffic jam. The second half was perfect.” Trainer Richard Mandella added: “It was a nice, steady mile. She went very good and everything’s in good shape.”