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All hail the Queens.

Beholder over Songbird, by a fraction of a nose. They hit the wire together for a photo finish, and it came down to nothing more than a matter of whio had the head-bob at just the right time. If it had been any closer, it could have been a dead heat. Which would have ben awesome, because then neither would have to lose. >_> But both my girls, on top together - I'll take it.

So Beholder goes out in glory, but Songbird loses nothing in defeat - this was her first time racing against older horses, her first time really tested, and until Gary let Beholder go, Songbird was on the lead, the effortless pace. And even when Beholder pulled up beside her, she didn't give an inch. Not even the inch Beholder got at the wire. She made Beholder, a champion for five years straight, work for that victory as hard as any horse has ever worked, and the two of them beat the rest of the field, three-year-olds and older mares alike, by open space. (Maybe not as much open space as there could have been! But enough for me to gloat or the both of them. ^.^)

("Thank you," are Gary Stevens' first words to Trainer Richard Mandela after an incredible Distaff win with Beholder.)

("She put Songbird away three different times, and each time Songbird just kept coming back," rider Gary Stevens says. "She laid her heart out on the racetrack." He says she might be the best horse he's ever ridden, and when he says it, you can tell how much he really loves her, how special she really is.)

(More Stevens: "It was a quarter of a mile street fight.")

(From trainer Richard Mandella/Beholder: "I don't know what I did to deserve her." [He also made a joke about getting her beat a few times to add suspense, roffle. He's apparently got a reputation for not being overly verbose when he's been interviewed, but when he does have something to say, it's usually something like that. XD])

Wonderful, beautiful, monsters of mares, the both of them. Beholder will go on to make champion babies, now (oh, how I'll hope she'll be bred to Pharoah and Chrome <_<), and Songbird will step into the role of heir apparent to Queen B's throne. She'll be four next year, older and stronger, and she should just keep getting better.

Stellar Wind, who's a good horse in her own right and beat Beholder in two of her three recent defeats (Chrome was the other, so no shame there, either), was the potential spoiler. but she broke badly, slowly, and that was it for her as far as the win goes. To beat Beholder and the Bird, you've got to be up there. You can't make any mistakes, lose any ground. But she did rally for fourth.

Word is that Corona Del Inca, the longest shot in the field, was pulled up and has a condylar fracture. You hate that, to mar such an otherwise perfect day. It's not necessarily a death sentence, like it used to be, or even necessarily a career-ender, but... It could be. I haven't been able to find anything else on her yet. I hope she'll be okay.

Tomorrow's the big one. @.@ #Chromie4Life!