By Jeremy Balan
A Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) for the ages on paper played out in real time in the most dramatic and epic way.
With a three-wide move in the final turn, Beholder looked undefeated Songbird in the eye and the rest of the field essentially disappeared. All the others were there, but the eyes of an entire sport were locked on the two champions.
In a stretch run that will be remembered for ages, it was the older, more experienced champion that edged the other by the slimmest of margins at Santa Anita Park in what is expected to be Beholder's final race. Watch Video
Songbird never relented in her first defeat. She was simply second best Nov. 4. The official margin was a nose, but the win photo showed barely more than a whisker. The final time was 1:49.22 for 1 1/8 miles. Forever Unbridled ran third. Those facts will likely fade into history. Memories of the stretch battle will not.
As Songbird and Beholder dueled to the wire, however, the race was marred by the breakdown of Corona Del Inca. Pablo Falero pulled up the Argentine-bred mare in the final turn and she stopped at the top of the stretch. Dr. Scott Palmer with the American Association of Equine Practitioners said after the race that she sustained a condylar fracture in her right front leg. Corona Del Inca was immediately transported to the equine hospital at Santa Anita, where she is undergoing radiographs.