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Next Chapter For Beholder: A Date With Uncle Mo

By Casey Laughter

Spendthrift Farm's Beholder Wins the Breeders' Cup Distaff (GI) at Santa Anita Park on November 4, 2016

Spendthrift Farm’s Beholder Wins the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI) by  by a nose at Santa Anita Park on November 4, 2016. Photo: Jim Safford

Spendthrift Farms’ three-time champion Beholder went out on top with a final effort in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI), capturing her final career race by a determined nose after a very uncharacteristc three-race losing streak.

Beholder was $180,000 yearling purchase in 2011 before becoming a champion in her 2-year-old season in which she earned three wins in five starts, including the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) for her Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella. She went on to have a top-notch 3-year-old campaign in 2013, which included four grade 1 wins and a second-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks (GI) behind Princess of Sylmar. Beholder won the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI) later that year, securing her the Eclipse Award as the country’s champion 3-year-old filly.

Beholder had a brief 4-year-old campaign, but still managed to win the Zenyatta Stakes (GI) for the second year in a row.

Returning at age five in 2015, Beholder went undefeated in a five-race campaign, which was highlighted by a win in the Pacific Classic (GI) in her first start over males. She also won the Zenyatta Stakes for the third time and was a late scratch from the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) at Keeneland after developing a fever during shipping.

In 2016, while Beholder won her first two starts of the year, it appeared she had potentially lost a step. After a win in the Adoration Stakes (GIII) and the Vanity Mile (GI), Beholder lost three grade 1 races in a row, including the Clement Hirsch Stakes (GI), Pacific Classic and in her search for a foruth win in the Zenyatta Stakes. However, Beholder returned to the Breeders’ Cup for the first time since 2013, and made her final run one to remember. Beholder took the previously undefeated champion Songbird on at the top of the stretch and following a long, hard-fought battle down the lane, only Beholder’s nostril decided who was best that day.

Now, Beholder has been retired and will make Kentucky home at the gorgeous Spendthrift Farm in Lexington. From 26 starts, Beholder returned to the winner’s circle 18 times and was second in six other races for earnings of $6,156,600.

Champion Beholder and her trainer, Richard Mandella, Breeders' Cup week at Santa Anita 2016. Photo: Jim Safford

Champion Beholder and her trainer, Richard Mandella, Breeders’ Cup week at Santa Anita 2016. Photo: Jim Safford

Last week Spendthrift announced that in 2017 Beholder will be bred to Uncle Mo, a fitting choice for the bay mare.

As a racehorse, Uncle Mo never seemed to achieve the level he truly should have, plagued by illness and other issues. However, as a stallion Uncle Mo is off to the fastest start at stud we have seen in years. In his first crop, Uncle Mo sired not only graded stakes winners, but also a Kentucky Derby (GI) winner in Nyquist. Other notable Uncle Mo offspring include Thrilled, Mo Tom and Laoban.

As a stallion, Uncle Mo crosses well with the Storm Cat line as evidenced by champion Nyquist. Beholder is by Henny Hughes, who is a grandson of Storm Cat through Hennessy.

Uncle Mo currently sits third on the General Sires list behind Tapit and Curlin. While that is phenomenal company to hold, the average win distance for the offspring off the top three is: 7.27 furlongs (Uncle Mo), 7.52 furlongs (Tapit), and 7.62 furlongs (Curlin), effectively indicating Uncle Mo seems to need a bit more stamina through the dam to produce route runners.

2016 Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Beholder. November 4, 2016. Photo: Jim Safford

2016 Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Beholder. November 4, 2016. Photo: Jim Safford

Beholder’s first foal will be bred on the same cross as Nyquist, Thrilled and Auntie Joy; another winner named Jessica Krupnick is bred on the Uncle Mo/Henny Hughes cross.

The only inbreeding would be to the mare Suspicious Native, who produced both Leo Castelli and Meadowlake. Leo Castelli is the broodmare sire of Indian Charlie while Meadowlake is the broodmare sire of Henny Hughes.

Overall, the breeding seems like a smart one and should result in a foal that will likely be precocious but improve as he or she matures both mentally and physically. Both Uncle Mo and Beholder won at age two, but while Uncle Mo ended his career as a good 3-year-old, Beholder’s legacy is as a legendary older mare who will likely be Hall of Fame horse when first nominated.