Seconds after Beholder worked five furlongs in :59.20 Sunday morning, Richard Mandella turned to a video crew and vocalized a phrase from the Buck Owens classic “Act Naturally.”
“Bet you I’m gonna be a big star,” Mandella sang, approximately in tune and meter and with the hint of a smile on his face.
With regular exercise rider Janeen Painter aboard and jockey Gary Stevens watching from trackside, Beholder broke off at the five-eighths pole with a workmate five or six lengths ahead and cruised through official fractions of :24.20, :47, and :59.20 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:11.60.
It was the final serious exercise before the three-time Eclipse Award winner and defending TVG Pacific Classic champion runs in next Saturday’s Grade I $ 300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes.
“It was meant to go off a little easy and finish the way we do most of the time,” Mandella said after inspecting Beholder back at the barn. “It went a little quicker than we planned, but she does that often.
“I got her in :58 and 3. She’s ready.”
Asked how often workouts inspire him to country song karaoke, Mandella said: “Very few, actually. This might be a first.”
About 90 minutes earlier, at 6:30 a.m., champion Stellar Wind, the top rival for Beholder in the Clement L. Hirsch, worked five furlongs in one minute with regular rider Victor Espinoza up. The work was in company with stablemate Carnival Lights, who was timed in 1:01.20.
“A maintenance work,” trainer John Sadler said. “A routine work, so we’re on to next Saturday. She had her stronger work a week ago, so she’s ready.”
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