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Beholder Rolls in Las Virgenes Stakes

The champ is back. Beholder, Eclipse Champion 2-year-old filly for 2012 scored a powerful gate to wire win in Saturday’s Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday.



Beholder made amends for a loss in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes on Jan. 21, winning Saturday by 3 ¾ lengths under Garrett Gomez while covering one mile in 1:36.14.

Trained by Richard Mandella and owned by B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm LLC, Beholder exited the Santa Ynez with what was diagnosed as a throat ulcer, which no doubt inhibited her breathing.

“It bothered her a lot,” said Mandella. “Imagine trying to run with a sore in your throat.  Everything she did today was great.  She’s a great filly. We’ll enjoy this today, but plans are for her to run next in the Santa Anita Oaks (Grade 1, 1 1/16 miles, April 6).”

Breaking from post position five in an eight-horse field, Beholder, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Henny Hughes, established a one-length advantage into the Club House turn and remained clear through fractions of 23.78, 47.55, 1:11.19 and 1:23.39.

“It was a whole different feeling today,” said Gomez.  “She did everything beautiful.  She traveled beautifully, when I asked her to quicken, she quickened.  I couldn’t have asked her to do anything better for me.  She’s back!”

Beholder paid $3.60, $2.40 and $2.10. With the winner’s share of $150,000, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner increased her earnings to $1,395,000 from a record of 7-4-2-0.

Beholder/Benoit photo