November 28, 2022

Beholder – 2016 Champion Older Dirt Female

Beholder captures the Breeders' Cup Distaff (c) Benoit Photos

Beholder added yet another award to her trophy case when honored as the 2016 champion older dirt female of 2016 Saturday evening during the Eclipse Awards ceremony.

The Kentucky-bred mare successfully defended her older female crown from 2015, when she went five-for-five and just missed out on facing Triple Crown hero American Pharoah in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Keeneland.

In 2016, Beholder racked up a 3-3-0 scorecard from six starts and $1,720,000 in earnings. She began her six-year-old campaign for trainer Richard Mandella with a pair of wins in the Adoration Stakes (G3) and Vanity Mile (G1), the latter of which came over rival and fellow champion Stellar Wind. That filly got her revenge, though, when getting up by a half-length over Beholder to take the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (G1) on July 30.

Thus began a three-race streak of seconditis for Beholder, who attempted to defend her title in the Pacific Classic (G1) next out against the boys. She reputed herself well when second to fellow superstar California Chrome in that 1 1/4-mile affair, then found herself a quarter-length behind Stellar Wind in the Zenyatta Stakes (G1) one race later.

Beholder captured the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and 2013 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), but was forced to miss the Distaff in 2014 and ended up having to bail on the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic. She finally got her shot at a third Breeders’ Cup trophy in 2016 but was going up against not only Stellar Wind but undefeated champion Songbird.

In the end, the race came down to an epic duel between Beholder and Songbird in the stretch. After duking it out to the delight of the fans, Beholder got her nose down on the wire for the win and fourth Eclipse trophy.