Spendthrift Farm's Beholder (Henny Hughes), who capped off her racing career with a brilliant victory over Songbird (Medaglia d'Oro) in Friday's GI Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff, exited the race in fine shape, according to trainer Richard Mandella.
“She came out of the race great and looked great this morning,” Mandella said Saturday morning.
Reflecting on Friday's epic victory, Mandella added, “As you can imagine, we couldn't be any more excited by a race like that and a mare like her. I do realize I'm fortunate to have a very special situation that very few people have ever experienced, to have a mare this good this long. It's just been a great ride. She'll be going home to the farm to be bred after this. I don't know to who or anything like that.”
Beholder's regular exercise rider Janeen Painter admitted the build-up to the final race of the champion's career had been emotional.
“You know it's been an emotional week,” Painter said. “I am getting emotional now talking about it. It's sad because I knew this was the last race. But, I knew she had one big one left in her and she didn't disappoint. Congratulations to Songbird, too. That filly had never been headed before in her life and she fought against Beholder all the way down the lane to just barely lose. It was a great race.”
Painter added, “It will be very strange walking in the barn and not seeing Beholder in that first stall and having her to nicker at me for treats. She's been a big part of my daily routine for a long time.”
Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said Songbird was also doing well Saturday, a morning after suffering the first loss of her career. The filly will get some time off before returning to the races next year.
Of the Distaff, Hollendorfer observed, “We certainly didn't expect I'm a Chatterbox (Munnings) to move at us so early in the race. If she hadn't, we would have won. You can't take a horse out of its element and expect that result. I don't know if Beholder ever got to the front before the wire; all I know is the result.”
Stellar Wind (Curlin), who defeated Beholder in her last two starts, finished fourth in the Distaff after a hopping at the start. “I felt like I was run over by a truck,” trainer John Sadler said. “The race was over for us right at the start.”
The 4-year-old is entered in next week's Keeneland November sale (hip 69), but Sadler said a decision on whether to retire Stellar Wind or race her again in 2017 would be made in the next few days.
• “He's trained very well, done great and we're so happy he finally got a big win because he has been second a couple of times this year,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said of GI Las Vegas Dirt Mile winner Tamarkuz (Speightstown). “We're not sure what we're going to do from here–either he'll go and stand at stud or race again. We're not sure. Rick Nichols [of Shadwell] will let me know.”
• “He got pretty tired yesterday,” trainer Laura Wohlers said of defending Sprint champion Runhappy (Super Saver), who finished eighth after setting the pace in the Dirt Mile. “He will go back to Kentucky in the morning. We will give it a couple of days back there and get on a conference call and talk about where we go from here.”