3-time Breeders’ Cup champ Beholder retires, will be bred to Uncle Mo

Herald-Leader Staff Report

Jockey Gary Stevens, on Beholder, edges past Songbird to win the Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.
Jockey Gary Stevens, on Beholder, edges past Songbird to win the Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. AP

Three-time Breeders’ Cup winner and Eclipse champion Beholder was retired from racing and will begin a new career as a broodmare at Spendthrift Farm in Lexington. She is booked to leading sire Uncle Mo for her inaugural mating in 2017.

“We are excited to help usher in the next chapter of Beholder’s unprecedented career, and I can't think of a better way to get it started than to breed her to Uncle Mo,” Spendthrift General Manager Ned Toffey said. “His record-breaking production in his first two years at stud made this an easy decision. We went by the old adage of ‘breed the best to the best and hope for the best.’”

Trained by Richard Mandella for B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm, Beholder is coming off a thrilling win over the previously unbeaten Songbird in Friday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita in California. She was the first horse to win a Grade I race at ages 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Beholder is also the only horse in history to win both the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and Breeders’ Cup Distaff, and remains the first filly since Hall of Fame champion Silverbulletday to earn the Eclipse Award at both two and three years old. Her third Breeders’ Cup victory — second in the Distaff — Friday puts her in especially rarified air among the top Distaffers of all time, as she figures to be in line for a chance at a fourth Eclipse Award. Beholder won the Eclipse for Champion Older Mare a year ago as a 5-year-old.

A winner of 11 Grade I races and $6,156,600 in earnings, Beholder will be bred to Uncle Mo, who was undefeated during his two-year-old campaign and was a record-setting 2015 Champion Freshman Sire and record-setting 2016 Champion Pro-Tem Second Crop Sire.

Standing at Ashford Stud, Uncle Mo has sired 11 graded stakes winners with $15 million in progeny earnings to date. His three GradeI1 winners to date include Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist.

“Beholder and Uncle Mo looks like a match made in heaven,” Coolmore’s MV Magnier said. “She must be one of the greatest race mares we’ve ever seen, and what Uncle Mo has achieved so far is almost beyond belief. I hope Mr. Hughes will breed another champion. We bought Beholder’s Scat Daddy half-brother at Keeneland in September, and we can only hope that he’ll be half as good as her.”

Bred by Clarkland Farm, Beholder is by two-time Eclipse finalist Henny Hughes, and she hails from the multiple Grade I-producing Tricky Creek mare Leslie’s Lady. She is a half-sister to Spendthrift sire Into Mischief, and her yearling half-brother recently topped the annual Keeneland September sale after commanding $3 million from Magnier for Coolmore.

Victorious from 5 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/4 miles, Beholder posted a 108 Beyer as a 2-year-old — highest by any juvenile over the past half dozen seasons. She earned her lifetime biggest Beyer last year in the form of a 114 when dominating boys in the Graede I Pacific Classic at Del Mar.

Beholder was retired with 18 wins and six runner-up finishes from 26 lifetime starts.