California Horse Racing Legend Beholder Voted Into Hall of Fame

Written By Andrew Champagne on May 13, 2022 - Last Updated on August 2, 2022

The National Museum of Horse Racing and Hall of Fame announced its 2022 honorees Wednesday morning. Prominent among them was Beholder, one of the most highly-renowned horses to run in California in recent history.

Owned by Spendthrift Farm and trained by fellow Hall of Famer Richard Mandella, Beholder raced from 2012 through 2016. She won 18 of 26 lifetime starts, with 11 of those wins coming in Grade 1 races against top-tier competition. Incidentally, all 18 wins came at California horse racing venues.

Beholder’s brilliant career

It’s become exceedingly rare for the most talented horses in racing to run in five seasons. Many are shuttled off to the breeding shed long before that point.

Not so, however, with Beholder, whose first and last big wins came on racing’s biggest stage. As a 2-year-old, she won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Four years later, over the same Santa Anita Park surface, she outdueled Songbird to win the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

That was her second Distaff triumph. She also won the race in 2013. In doing so, she avenged a loss to Princess of Sylmar in that year’s Kentucky Oaks. That win was enough to earn Beholder the second of four Eclipse Awards she’d win during her career.

Another one of her signature wins came in 2015 at Del Mar. It was there that her connections ran her against males in the TVG Pacific Classic. Beholder came roaring home around the far turn and crushed a field that featured several of California’s top older males, including 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern.

Beholder’s legacy

Beholder is one of just four horses to win the Breeders’ Cup Distaff twice. That list also includes Hall of Famers Bayakoa and Royal Delta, and future Hall of Famer Monomoy Girl (who won’t be eligible until 2027).

Beholder is the only horse to win both the Juvenile Fillies and the Distaff. She’s also the only female horse to win the TVG Pacific Classic.

The historic Vanity Stakes, which Beholder won in 2016, was renamed in her honor the following year. That race, re-christened the Beholder Mile, has since been won by top-flight mares Stellar Wind, Ce Ce and Swiss Skydiver.

Beholder joined Spendthrift Farm’s broodmare band after her racing days were over. Her first foal, named Q B One, debuted in 2021. A second foal, a daughter of Curlin named Karin With an I, may debut this year.

More on the Hall of Fame

The induction ceremony is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 5, at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion in Saratoga Springs, New York. Those who can’t make the trip can watch a free stream of the event on the Museum’s website.

Other honorees included fellow first-ballot Hall of Famer Tepin. She most notably won the 2016 Queen Anne at Royal Ascot and the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Mile.

The two mares are joined by four-legged inductees Hillsdale and Royal Heroine. Humans set to be honored are trainer Oscar White and Pillars of the Turf selections James Cox Brady, Marshall Cassidy and James Ben Ali Haggin.

Photo by AP Photo / Jae C. Hong
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Andrew Champagne

Andrew Champagne is a Content Manager at Catena Media, as well as an award-winning writer and producer. A passionate storyteller, Andrew boasts a career that has included stints at The Daily Racing Form, TVG Network, and HRTV. Born and raised in upstate New York, Andrew now resides in Northern California's Bay Area. You can often find him handicapping horse races, planning his next trip to Las Vegas, bowling reasonably well, and golfing incredibly poorly.

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