Pacific Classic Recap: Beholder Dominates the Males

By Victoria Barnett August 25, 2015

The Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” series for the Breeders’ Cup Classic continued last Saturday with the Pacific Classic at Del Mar. It looks like American Pharoah has finally found some competition after mare Beholder beat out the boys and became the first female to win the Grade 1 race in its 25-year history. The winning margin was the second greatest in Pacific Classic history as Beholder finished a solid
8 ¼ lengths ahead.

Many were surprised to see her beat up the colts like this. She dominated the track, easily disposing of pacesetters Bayern and Midnight Storm and then setting out to leave the others in the dust. Jockey Gary Stevens urged the 5-year-old mare home using just his hands and led Beholder to an impressive victory in front of a crowd of 20,424. She ran the 1 ¼ miles in 1:59.77.

Beholder finished ahead of Catch a Flight followed by Red Vine, Hoppertunity, Imperative, Hard Aces, Class Leader, Bailoutbobby, Bayern and Midnight Storm, respectively.

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This victory earned Beholder an automatic spot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic this October and likely a date with American Pharoah. This should make for one epic race, and we can’t wait to see the two go head-to-head. We know American Pharoah has all the talent in the world, but we wouldn’t be surprised if this mare gives him a little run for his money. 

Zenyatta is the only female to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic, which she accomplished in 2009 at Santa Anita Park. Will Beholder be next?

Watch the recap of the Pacific Classic below!

How the Breeders’ Cup® Works

There are a few different ways to qualify for the Breeders’ Cup. The first is by winning a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race. The Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” series consists of 78 stakes races. Winning one of these races automatically earns you entry into the corresponding Breeders’ Cup Championship race and also waives entry and starting fees.

There is a total of seven challenge races for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the fifth of which was the Pacific Classic at Del Mar. The next Breeders’ Cup Challenge for the Breeders’ Cup Classic will be the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita Park on Sep. 26.

The second way to qualify for the Breeders’ Cup is based on a points system, where horses are ranked based on their performance in major races during the year. Points are awarded based on the race quality and then by win, place and show (first, second and third place finishes). Take a look at the scale below:





Grade 1




Grade 2




Grade 3




The third way to gain entry to the Breeders’ Cup is to be selected by a panel of experts. For each Breeders’ Cup Championship race, there are a maximum of 14 horses selected. Seven of those horses qualify through Challenge races or the points system. Seven are selected by experts. The reasoning for this method of qualifying is to ensure the highest quality of competition for each of the races.

Attend the 2015 Breeders’ Cup®

We already know Hard Aces, Noble Bird, American Pharoah, Honor Code and Beholder have earned automatic spots in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Who else will join alongside?  

With an Official Ticket Package direct from Breeders’ Cup and QuintEvents, you can be there to witness the action of the 2015 Breeders’ Cup! Get an unbeatable experience that includes tickets, hospitality, exclusive insider extras and much more. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to head to the heart of the Bluegrass State in October and see some of the best horses compete at the 2015 Breeders’ Cup!

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Go to the 2015 Breeders' Cup!

Top image courtesy of Breeders' Cup