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HRN Original Blog:
Dueling Down The Stretch

Racing for the Eclipse: Beholder vs. Executiveprivilege

The issue arises every year….which is most important? A win in the Breeders' Cup, or a complete and dominant season? Voters will be asked to make a decision on that very question when voting for Champion Two-Year-Old Filly.
Beholder and Executiveprivilege are both outstanding fillies in their own right, but I cannot recall a time where there was ever a tie for an Eclipse Award title. Beholder, beaten twice by Executiveprivilege, got the better of her rival on racing’s biggest day, the Breeders' Cup. She was aided by a strong speed bias as she was able to hold her ground, by one length, as they hit the wire.
Those who support her will look at that outcome and use it to say she should get the Eclipse Award, but they forget that she lost twice this season, and that both of those losses came at the hands of Executiveprivilege. They also forget that before the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies that Beholder’s highest level win came in an allowance race.
Executiveprivilege has been the picture of consistency during her career. She won her maiden before immediately jumping into stakes competition. She dominated in both the Landaluce Stake and Sorrento Stakes, before meeting Beholder again in her grade one debut, the Del Mar Debutante. She got the better of her rival by a nose, before scoring her second grade one in the Chandelier Stakes impressively. In her last race, as mentioned, she ran second to Beholder, but beaten only a length.
When all is said and done, Executiveprivilege has five stakes wins, two of which were grade one. Beholder has but one stake win, but alas it is a coveted Breeders' Cup win. As it stands now, who should take home the Eclipse? Executiveprivilege has the most impressive overall season and the edge in the head to head match-ups. But, was Beholder’s lone victory in the Breeders' Cup really enough to overtake her rival in the Eclipse Award?  


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Older Comments about Racing for the Eclipse: Beholder vs. Executiveprivilege...

BTW, EP still has maturing to do. She continues to drift in the stretch. If she learns to run straight she will be a FANTASTIC horse.
I have said this before, and I agree with many of you. The award is "Two year old filly of the YEAR." It should not be based on one start, that Beholder won. Beholder started maturing later than EP, but that should not (As Dani Said) be hald against her. No doubt in my mind EP should win it, even if she loses the Starlet.
Even without a Starlet win, Executiveprivilege is the clear choice, in my opinion. Her record speaks for itself, and she wins the head-to-head match-up. This isn't at all like last year when it came down to Union Rags and Hansen; Union Rags had the stronger campaign, but Hansen owned the head-to-head match up.
maryland, i agree. And it's a shamem Mike, horses always have form cycles some don't mature until much later, even into their later years, yet we look at body of work then. Do we give the top three year old award out based on the criteria you just said, or based on best body of work? Many times, I'd say body of work. Yet, many times there are late maturing three year olds that don't get good until the summer or later. EP has been good from her debut to the BC. She has run 6 times and is going for 7. I can't remember the last time i saw a two year old of her status run seven times, in a total of 6 stakes, with 4 of them being grade ones. The amount of starts she has made is equal to Wise Dan, who has run all year, and by years end she will have eclisped his amount of starts. Yes, she got good early. Yes, Beholder matured later. That should not be held against EP, it should actually work in her favor, since she was able to start so early and continue on later into the year. That is not something many her age, when starting so early, can do. This is not UR vs Hansen, where there was a total 7 starts and three grade ones between the two. EP actually has a resume. IHATC...What other races did Beholder win?
As in everything in life, it comes down to "what have you done for me lately". That is, the majority of people fail to look at an entire body of work, but rather (in the case of horse racing) a horses most recent race. It will be an interesting vote.
Beholder, hands down. She won in the biggest even for her division.
I think when you talk about body of work or overall season it is important to remember these are 2 year olds. They are just starting their careers and are learning to race and trainers are using races to build condition and develop the horse mentally. For this reason I think the early races especially her loss in the maiden race should not be held against Beholder, at this point I would say Executiveprivilege was the better horse in August but by November in the biggest race for 2 year old fillies, Beholder was the best 2 year old filly and should win the Eclipse. But I agree that if Executiveprivilege wins the Starlet she probably deserves the award. By the way I noticed she is not running on Lasix, maybe Baffert is looking ahead to the Breeders Cup next year where all horses will run without Lasix.
As of now, I'd say it's neck and neck between the two, but a win in the Starlet would seal the deal for Executiveprivilege. Her resume compared to Beholder's would then be like that of Chilukki's record compared to Cash Run's in 1999.
She will, and if she does win I feel there is not debate. I honestly think even now she should be a clear choice since she had the better season and won 2 of three meetings.
Executiveprivilege will have a great chance to pad her resume on Saturday in the Hollywood Starlet.

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Meet Laura Pugh

Laura Pugh got her first taste of Thoroughbred Racing when she watched War Emblem take the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2001. After that point, she fell in love with the sport, reading every piece of news and information she could get her fingertips on.

Laura has a long history with horses in general, taking her first ride on her fifth birthday, with her first official riding lesson when she was eight years old. Both years she attended college she joined her school’s equestrian team, first at the now closed Virginia Intermont College, then again at Delaware State University. Unfortunately, after back and shoulder injuries, she had to hang up her saddle. 

In 2010 Laura came to Horse Racing Nation, but soon branched out to other media outlets, such as Lady and the Track, TwinSpires.com, and USRacing. She currently works at a local newspaper as a community reporter, while making a return to Horse Racing Nation, where she will once again feature her opinionated columns on the latest in horse racing. 

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