Friday, November 2, 2012
Updated: November 3, 3:24 AM ET
Eye of the Beholder
ARCADIA, Calif. -- On Friday I rode Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Beholder, and that was my 13th victory in the world championships. This is racing at its best, and it's always an honor to be in a position to be on these kinds of runners and have a part in their success.
Richard Mandella did a tremendous job with this filly, teaching her how to relax and be a little more patient. When I left the gate, I didn't ask her to leave there too much because I know she typically is quick. I thought they would have trouble clearing me because she is so fast away from the gate, and the idea was to get her to settle as much as possible, not get her stirred up and too aggressive.
When we got right to the point of the turn, Kauai Katie came outside, and I dropped my hands. Beholder quickened and got a length back in front of her, and I kept trying to discourage the other filly by moving out a little bit, and when we headed up the backside, I put her on a long hold. She hit a nice stride to herself and she traveled beautifully for me, just the way I could have dreamed it up.
When I got to the turn, she stayed up in the bridle for me and was traveling wonderfully. About the quarter pole, I moved to see whether she could sneak away and I could get away from them. But as she started turning for home, she hit the idle button for me, and it popped into my head, "Oh no," because the more I asked her, the shorter her stride got. I was getting worried, and all of a sudden, the horses caught up to her, and when the other fillies started catching her, she started coming back up underneath me.
About the 16th pole, it was like she had revived herself. She had this true grit about wanting to win, and she got right back on her feet and finished up nice for me. That's typical with fillies sometimes. They take a different kind of handling than a male horse, and she is a typical filly who is temperamental about things and you have to do it her way.
When I turned for home, I just automatically told her, "Let's go," and when I started to tell her that, she started getting a little attitude with me and I didn't have time to start trying different things to try to get her back up on her feet. I gave her a couple of spanks left-handed, and by the time I got into her a couple of times and told her, "Let's go," her stride kept shortening. But then all of a sudden the horses from behind started to catch up and it revived her, and she quit paying attention to me and was paying attention to them, and when she did that, her true grit of wanting to win the race, her competitiveness, got back up into her bloodstream.
I kind of focused on her and I was getting into her left-handed, and I buried my head and tried to pick her up and communicate with her. I just prayed for her to stay up in the bridle and get me home. I just squeezed every last ounce I could get out of her, and all of a sudden the other filly couldn't get to her.
Now it's on to Breeders' Cup Saturday and a big afternoon card in store. I'll have Bares Tripper in the Juvenile Filly Sprint Preview Stakes, Den's Legacy in the Juvenile Turf Sprint Preview Stakes, Brother Francis in the Damascus, Know More in the Juvenile Turf, Switch in the Filly & Mare Sprint, Reneesgotzip in the Turf Sprint, Slim Shadey in the Turf, Jimmy Creed in the Sprint, Jeranimo in the Mile and Richard's Kid in the Classic. I'm also still promoting my book, and you can see the trailer for it. Here's hoping I'm back tomorrow evening to talk about more winners!