Spendthrift Farm’s three-time champion and Breeders’ Cup winner Beholder (Henny Hughes–Leslie’s Lady, by Tricky Creek) has been officially retired from racing and will head to Lexington to begin her broodmare career. The 6-year-old is scheduled to visit top sire Uncle Mo for her first mating.
“We are excited to help usher in the next chapter of Beholder’s unprecedented career, and I can’t think of a better way to get it started than to breed her to Uncle Mo,” said Ned Toffey, General Manager of B. Wayne Hughes’s Spendthrift Farm. “His record-breaking production in his first two years at stud made this an easy decision. We went by the old adage of ‘breed the best to the best and hope for the best’.”
Coolmore went to $3 million to acquire Beholder’s yearling half-brother by Scat Daddy at the Keeneland September sale.
“Beholder and Uncle Mo looks like a match made in heaven,” said Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier. “She must be one of the greatest race mares we’ve ever seen, and what Uncle Mo has achieved so far is almost beyond belief. I hope Mr. Hughes will breed another champion. We bought Beholder’s Scat Daddy half-brother at Keeneland in September, and we can only hope that he’ll be half as good as her.”
Beholder made history throughout what is sure to be a Hall of Fame career as the only racehorse to win Grade Is during each of her five seasons on the track. Bred by Clarkland Farm, Beholder was purchased by Spendthrift for $180,000 at the 2011 Keeneland September sale and proved that price to be quite a bargain right from the start with a victory in the 2012 GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and her first Eclipse as top juvenile filly.
Victorious in the GI Las Virgenes S. and GI Santa Anita Oaks in 2013, the bay looked a winner in that year’s GI Kentucky Oaks, but was run down late by longshot Princess of Sylmar (Majestic Warrior) and forced to settle for second. Scoring her first of three GI Zenyatta S. victories, the Richard Mandella pupil followed suit with her second championship success in the GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff–becoming the first filly to win the Juvenile Fillies and Distaff in consecutive years–and took home her second Eclipse statue as leading sophomore lady.
Making just three starts in 2014, including another Zenyatta win, Beholder missed a Distaff title defense due to a fever. She was a perfect six-for-six in 2015, winning the GI Clement L. Hirsch S. prior to a dazzling victory over males in the GI Pacific Classic. Capturing her third Zenyatta, the champion was set to take on Triple Crown winner American Pharoah (Pioneer of the Nile) in the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic, but was forced to miss the championships again after a routine scope revealed that she had bled during her morning gallop days before the race. The voters deemed she had already done enough for the season even without the Breeders’ Cup and awarded her a third Eclipse as top older mare.
Opening 2016 with a pair of wins, including a defeat of champion Stellar Wind (Curlin) in the GI Vanity Mile S., Beholder finished second to that rival in the Clement Hirsch and completed the exacta behind 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit) in the Pacific Classic. Runner-up to Stellar Wind in search of her fourth Zenyatta, she concluded her career and what is sure to be a fourth championship season with a gritty victory in Friday’s Distaff, besting previously undefeated Eclipse winner Songbird (Medaglia d’Oro) by a nostril after a prolonged stretch duel.
Beholder, the only horse besides Goldikova to win three Breeders’ Cup races, retires with a record of 26-18-6-0 and earnings of $6,156,600.