A run in the Oct. 31 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) is not off the table for champion Beholder, whose initial tests came back with encouraging results after the Richard Mandella trainee spiked a slight fever and did not train the morning of Oct. 20 at Keeneland.
Spendthrift general manager Ned Toffey said the 5-year-old racemare's white blood cell count was only slightly elevated and the 101.3 degree temperature she had in the early morning hours of her first day in Kentucky was likely caused by "shipping type stress" rather than infection. Mandella said Beholder's normal temperature is 100.3.
"Her lungs are very clear; so far so good," Toffey reported. "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."
Beholder arrived in the bluegrass the afternoon of Oct. 19 after flying via Tex Sutton charter from Mandella's Southern California base, pointing for a showdown with Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the Breeders' Cup Classic. She was supposed to go to the track for an easy gallop Oct. 20, but Mandella did not send her to train after the slight fever was discovered in the early morning hours.
The Hall of Fame trainer said the slight temperature rise caused concern due to past illnesses. Winner of the 2012 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) and 2013 Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I), Beholder missed last year's Breeders' Cup Distaff because of a fever and was found to have a lung infection at the time.
"Breeders' Cup is not ruled out," Toffey said. "We're very much hour to hour and day to day, but her initial test results were very encouraging."