The much-anticipated showdown between Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and the brilliant mare Beholder in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) is now in doubt after the mare spiked a fever on Tuesday morning.
Beholder shipped to Kentucky the day before and trainer Richard Mandella said the slight rise in temperature could be due to “a little stress reaction from the ship.”
The mare missed last year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) when she spiked a fever of 104 with less than two weeks to go before the race.
This morning her temperature reached 101.3. Her normal temperature according to Mandella is 100.3.
“Her lungs are very clear; so far so good,” Spendthrift general manager Ned Toffey told Claire Novak of Bloodhorse. “We’ll have to wait and see. She took a pretty good swipe at the guy trying to ultrasound her, so she’s feeling pretty comfortable.
“I doubt she’ll train tomorrow, we’ll have to see what the fever does. But it’s a great sign that she’s responded well to medication. She hasn’t been given anything that would interfere with racing.”
Trainer Richard Mandella told Jay Privman of the Daily Racing Form that a lung scan was “pristine” and that “We’ll go easy with her for a few days and go from there. We’ll hope for the best. We scanned her lungs and the vet said they were pristine. That’s the good news.”
The mare is the current second choice in early Breeders’ Cup Classic wagering at Bovada at 3-1. American Pharoah is the betting favorite at 7-4.
Beholder is already a two-time Breeders’ Cup winner. She won the Juvenile Fillies in 2012 and the Distaff in 2013. She has won six races in a row and 15 of her 20 lifetimes starts.
She is already proven against the boys, winning the Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar on Aug. 22 by 8 ¼ lengths and earning a career best Beyer Speed Figure of 114. By comparison, the career top for American Phaorah is the 109 he earned in his Haskell Invitational (G1) victory.
Beholder’s last start came in her win in the Zenyatta (G1) at Santa Anita on Sept. 26. She only earned a Beyer of 99 but won rather easily by 3 ¼ lengths, toying with her seven rivals under jockey Gary Stevens.
Michael’s Breeders’ Cup Report includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for every race on the card from Keeneland on Oc. 30-31.
The Breeders’ Cup offers 12 championship races over two days, bringing together the best top horses, trainers, and jockeys from around the world, this year to compete at Keeneland.
In 2013 on Breeders’ Cup Saturday Mike nailed seven recommended exactas, paying $53.20, $19.00, $23.20, $58.00, $66.60, $107.80, and $33.60!