Beholder sent off a brazen warning shot to any horse thinking of challenging her at the 2016 Vanity Handicap on June 4th. The Spendthrift Farm mare paced through a five-furlong breeze in a dazzling time of :59 2/5 on Wednesday, reminding everyone that there isn’t a single older female who can hold a candle to her. It’s not like anyone needed reminding.
At the Adoration Stakes on May 8th, Beholder dusted the small field with exceptional ease to win her season debut. She now stands at an astonishing 16-3-0 in 21 races, with twelve of those victories at Santa Anita, which will once again host the Vanity Handicap this year. A lot of horses don’t even bother competing against Beholder, and with blazing fast training times, it’s hard to imagine the upcoming stakes race garnering much interest unless a horse’s connections consider their product elite.
Trainer Richard Mandella was rightfully confident and playful about Beholder’s work. “We let her show off a little bit this morning, but nothing that would surprise us,” the Hall of Fame trainer remarked. “I would expect this to be one of her better performances, which it would need to be, because better horses intend to run. And that’s pretty much how we’ve gone about our business of getting her ready.”
That wasn’t all. Beholder ran four furlongs in :48 1/5 on May 19 as well. “As a matter of fact, we gave her an easy half just to get her legs stretched a little bit last week,” Mandella continued. “Today we let her tighten up, because I want her a little sharp for the mile.”
Beholder will carry a seven race winning streak in to the Vanity Handicap on June 4th, and it would be remarkable only if she’s upset at the finish line. Stellar Wind and Taris are the only other declared horses for the race, and both are champions in their own right. Only the very best – or very brave – are expected to participate in the race next weekend.
As long as Beholder’s around, the rest of the older mare class is going to search elsewhere for the wins.