Breeders’ Cup Photo ©
Following yesterday’s announcement that two-time champion filly Beholder will target a start in the October 31st, Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I), here are five thoughts that have crossed my mind while pondering the announcement:
1. Beholder’s great tactical speed and ability to lead or track the pace means that she has pretty much the same running style as American Pharoah, which means that strategy and post position draw could have a huge impact on the outcome of the race. If American Pharoah and Beholde are right together heading into the far turn, who will make the first move?
2. With Beholder running in the Classic, the Distaff is suddenly up for grabs, and considering how wide-open the 3yo filly division is this year, Beholder’s absence could set the race up for a 3yo filly to steal a rich prize and land the Eclipse award. Among the top candidates are Stellar Wind, who may face Beholder in the Zenyatta Stakes later this month.
3. If Beholder wins the Classic, she’ll be the first horse in history to win three different Breeders’ Cup races, an incredible achievement that would be hugely difficult to replicate. And if she stays in training for 2016, as is the current plan, who knows what she might be able to accomplish!
4. Who will be the favorite in the Classic? Before his defeat in the Travers, I would have said American Pharoah hands-down, but if he doesn’t run again before the Classic, he’ll be entering the race off a loss. If Beholder comes back with a big effort in the Zenyatta Stakes, I think there’s a chance that she could steal favoritism from the Triple Crown winner.
5. Along similar lines, if Beholder defeats American Pharoah in the Classic, could she have a chance to steal Horse of the Year? I think that would depend in great part on where American Pharoah finishes, but if she beats him decisively, that could make the voting very, very interesting.