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Beholder Creates History With Gr1 Pacific Classic Win
At Del Mar in the US, Champion 5YO US mare Beholder (Henny Hughes-Leslie's Lady, by Tricky Creek) became the first female in history to win the Gr1 Pacific Classic (2000m) when drawing clear in the stretch to score an emphatic 8.25-length victory for trainer Richard Mandella in the $1 million feature at Del Mar racecourse on Saturday. The two-time Eclipse Award winner, who was taking on the dual challenge of racing over a mile-and-a-quarter and against males for the first time in her illustrious career, registered the second-largest winning margin in the Pacific Classic's 25-year history, with only Game On Dude winning by a wider space when saluting by 8.5-lengths in 2013. Mandella was in awe of Beholder's stunning performance: "I've never felt emotion over a race like this," he told Blood Horse. "When she made that move, it just took my breath away. I'm flabbergasted. I expected her to run well, otherwise I wouldn't have stuck my neck out like this, but I didn't expect her to beat up these colts like that." Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens said he knew he had the race in his keeping a long way from home: "I did not move my hands. Her ears were pricked straight up like a morning workout," he said. "I took a little peek and there was nobody coming. I knew she hadn't hit the afterburners yet, and I said, 'This is going to be fun.' " Beholder is being aimed at the Breeder's Cup Championships at Keeneland in October, but Mandella said he was yet to decide which race - the BC Cup, the BC Classic, or the BC Distaff - was her ultimate target. "Everything is possible, but I'm going to enjoy the hell out of this right now," Mandella said. The exceptional Beholder took her record to 14 wins (including the Gr1 Breeders' Cup Distaff, Gr1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies & Gr1 Zenyatta Stakes - twice) and 3 placings from 19 starts for US$4,256,600 earnings.