Lexington, Ky. — Beholder is out of the Breeders’ Cup Classic after she bled Thursday following her morning gallop at Keeneland.
Beholder was the early 3-1 second choice behind American Pharoah, who is running for the last time. Her absence reduces the field to nine and removes the horse expected to press the Triple Crown champion early in the $5 million race.
Trainer Richard Mandella attributed the bleeding to the fever Beholder developed when she arrived in Kentucky last week. He said the 5-year-old mare will be fine, but it would be too risky to run her Saturday.
“If I put her under the pressure of the race, she might do some serious damage,” Mandella said. “There’s obviously some irritated lung tissue there.”
Beholder arrived in Kentucky on Oct. 20 and the next day developed a temperature. Within a day, she appeared back to normal.
“She’s an aggressive mare and she was too worked up on the plane shipping here and made herself sick,” Mandella said.
Beholder is a two-time Eclipse Award winner who won the 2012 BC Juvenile Fillies and 2013 BC Distaff. She has a six-race winning streak for owner B. Wayne Hughes, who lives in Lexington.
Beholder has 15 wins in 20 career starts, but she’s never won outside her Southern California base. In two starts away from home, she finished fourth in the Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park in New York and second in the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs in Louisville.
“You could say we haven’t had any luck shipping, but it’s been something different every time,” Mandella said.
Her withdrawal leaves Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens without a mount in the Classic, a race he won two years ago with Mucho Macho Man.
American Pharoah had a spirited gallop at Keeneland. On Thursday, the colt galloped on the synthetic surface of the training track.
Trainer Bob Baffert had planned to use the main dirt track but changed his mind after several days of rain left a muddy surface. Several hundred fans watched the workout with exercise rider Georgie Alvarez on a cool, sunny morning.
Baffert says American Pharoah was “happy” and has been “working well.” American Pharoah was the 4/5 morning line favorite and will be ridden by Victor Espinoza.
What: Season-ending championships for Thoroughbreds (Grade 1)
Where: Keeneland, Lexington, Ky.
TV:NBCSN — 3-6 p.m. Friday, 1-4 p.m. Saturday; NBC — 4-6 p.m. Saturday
The races: Friday — 3:30 p.m., $1M Juvenile Turf (1 mile); 4:10, $1M Dirt Mile; 4:50, $1M Juvenile Fillies Turf (1 mile); 5:35, $2M Distaff (11/8 miles). Saturday — 12:05, $2M Juvenile Fillies (1 1/16 miles); 12:45, $1M Turf Sprint (51/2 furlongs); 1:25, $1M Filly & Mare Sprint (7 furlongs); 2:10, $2M Filly & Mare Turf (13/16 miles); 2:50, $1.5M Sprint (6 furlongs); 3:30, $2M Mile; 4:10, $2M Juvenile (11/16 miles); 4:50, $3M Turf (11/2 miles); 5:35, $5M Classic (11/4 miles)
2014 Classic winner: Bayern