The champion 3-year-old filly of 2013, Beholder, arrived at Belmont Park on Thursday. The daughter of Henny Hughes concluded her Eclipse Award-winning season with a win in the Breeders' Cup Distaff and is pointing towards the Grade 1, $1 million Ogden Phipps on Belmont Stakes Day. She has raced just once in 2014, taking the Santa Lucia by 5 ¼ lengths on April 20 at Santa Anita Park.
"She shipped in great shape," said Beholder's trainer, Richard Mandella. "My good friend Tom Bush is taking care of her. She went to the track to have a nice gallop [Friday morning] and will do the same tomorrow. We'll give her a breeze at some point next week."
Beholder galloped over Belmont’s main track Friday after shipping yesterday for the $1 million Ogden Phipps on Belmont Stakes Day next Saturday. The Ogden Phipps is one of 10 stakes, nine of them graded, at Belmont on June 7, with purses totaling $7.7 million, making it the second-richest day in North American racing to only the Breeders’ Cup.
“Everything’s in great shape,” Mandella said of the two-time Eclipse Award-winning filly. “She’s doing as well as she was before she won the Breeders’ Cup (Distaff at Santa Anita last Nov. 1). I think Martin Panza (Senior Vice President of Racing Operations) in particular and the New York Racing Association deserves a lot of credit and gratitude from the industry for putting a day like this together.
"There’s no question that Belmont Park deserves the Breeders’ Cup. Although the weather can be sketchy in November, a spring time Breeders’ Cup is not a bad idea.”
The Ogden Phipps is shaping up to be one of the most talented races on the Belmont Stakes undercard, as Princess of Sylmar and Close Hatches are likely to join Beholder in the starting gate. When asked why the talented filly is shipping east to face such a salty field, Mandella said, "a million dollars."
Last year's Kentucky Oaks winner, Princess of Sylmar, is also likely to be a part of the Ogden Phipps field. The daughter of Majestic Warrior rattled off four Grade 1 wins in a row in 2013: the Kentucky Oaks, the Coaching Club American Oaks, the Alabama, and the Beldame. Her year culminated with a start in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, but she ran an uncharacteristically dull race and finished sixth.
Close Hatches, trained by Bill Mott for Juddmonte Farms, is also expected to join the fray. She won two Grade 1's in 2013: the Mother Goose and the Cotillion, and has already won two graded stakes in 2014, including a win in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom.
Classic Point and My Wandy's Girl are likely to start, as well, while Belle Gallantey and Lunar Surge are possible.