Beholder victory for Stevens

Gary Stevens celebrates a stunning Breeders' Cup victory on Beholder

Gary Stevens celebrates a stunning Breeders' Cup victory on Beholder

Beholder became the first Juvenile Fillies' winner to go on and land the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Santa Anita on Friday night.

The winner and defending champion Royal Delta were expected to be involved in a speed duel up front but that never materialised and Authenticity cut out the early fractions.

It soon became clear that Royal Delta was struggling and after taking up the running turning for home under Gary Stevens, Beholder dashed clear for a wide-margin success, the winning rider's first at the Breeders' Cup for 13 years.

Stevens said: "She was a little fractious going into the gate and a little anxious. I was afraid she might over-break but she settled and broke beautiful. This is the best race she's ever run. I was hoping that Authenticity would carry the lead a little farther but (Beholder) moved up nice, went by her easy and the really opened up."

Winning trainer Richard Mandella said: "We trained her this way (to run from off the pace.) We've just never had to use it before. She's so naturally fast, you don't have to train that into her and she's made the lead so easily in many of her races. Today, she had to come from off of it and she did it - and boy do I love it. I've been lucky enough to have many good mares in my years of training, but this mare might have to be the best of all."

Royal Delta is heading into retirement and her trainer Bill Mott said of her run: "She's had three hard campaigns. I've been very blessed to have a lot of good horses and it's difficult to have more than two good campaigns with any horse. This mare has come back and won Grade I's this year and I see no reason why she wouldn't be champion older mare.

"She didn't win the Breeders' Cup, but she's been good to us. She's won two championships and maybe three, and won a couple of Breeders' Cups. It's not a bad career."

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