Beholder had not lost in over two years before the Clement L. Hirsch
PICTURE: Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos
By Keith Melrose 11:26AM 31 JUL 2016
Report: USA, Saturday
Del Mar: Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (Grade 1), 1m½f, 3yo+ fillies and mares
STAR mare Beholder suffered her first defeat since June 2014 as she came off second best in a tremendous battle with Stellar Wind in the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar on Saturday.
Beholder broke from the inside stall and led for most of the way under Gary Stevens. She and Stellar Wind burnt off the three less-fancied runners in the race around the top bend and it was clear by the time they entered the straight that it was not going to be another easy victory for the ten-time Grade 1 winner.
Beholder looked to briefly get back on terms after Stellar Wind took a narrow lead early in the straight, but her younger rival pulled half a length clear in the final 100 yards to take her second Grade 1 after last year’s Santa Anita Oaks.
The victory for Stellar Wind was her getting her own back for the Vanity Mile Stakes at Santa Anita in June, when Beholder beat her by a length and a half to take her eighth successive win.
Stellar Wind gains an automatic place in the autumn’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff, for which three-year-old Songbird remained the 1-2 favourite on Sunday morning.
Also in the USA on Saturday
The shocks on Saturday were not restricted to the west coast, as 27-1 outsider Laoban landed the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga, beating a field that included Creator and Destin, first and second respectively in the Belmont.
Also in the field were Governer Malibu, the Belmont fourth, who was second behind the shock winner, and Mohaymen, last seen when finishing fourth to Nyquist in the Kentucky Derby.
The Grade 1 on Saratoga’s card, the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap, went more to script, being won by improving six-year-old A. P. Indian from market leader Holy Boss.
The favourite Maniacal also lost out in the Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes, though again it was to a major market rival in Mind Your Biscuits. There was no such mistake from the formerly French-trained Flintshire, who landed cramped odds of 1-10 in the Grade 2 Bowling Green Stakes on the turf.