Beholder wins Distaff as Royal Delta fades
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
ARCADIA, California (Reuters) - Favorite Royal Delta ran out of steam to be thwarted in her bid to win the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff for a third consecutive time as Beholder stormed to a commanding victory at Santa Anita Park on Friday.
With veteran Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens on board, Beholder took control of the day's feature race by the final turn before charging down the home straight to triumph by four and one-quarter lengths.
Close Hatches finished second with Authenticity third while Royal Delta, a 7-5 Favorite heading into the starting gate, ended up a disappointing fourth out of six runners in glorious late afternoon sunshine.
Royal Delta had been bidding to become only the second horse to win a Breeders' Cup race for a third successive time, emulating Goldikova who won the Mile in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
"This is the best race she's ever run," a beaming Stevens, 50, told reporters about Beholder after winning the ninth Breeders' Cup race of his career, but his first since 2000.
"I was hoping that Authenticity would carry the lead a little farther but (Beholder) moved up nice, went by her easy and then really opened up.
"She was a little fractious going into the gate and a little anxious. I was afraid she might over-break but she settled and broke beautiful," added Stevens, who retired from racing in late 2005 before making a comeback this year.
The Richard Mandella-trained Beholder, the top three-year-old filly on the West Coast, had previously won four times this season, including grade I victories in the Santa Anita Oaks and the Zenyatta Stakes on September 28. Continued...