Enter Paradise Woods.
Granted, Paradise Woods will have to go a long way to match up with Beholder, whose record of sustained excellence over five seasons is one for the ages. Nonetheless, the talent is there, wrapped up in a dainty bay ballerina who danced her way to a record-breaking Santa Anita Oaks (USA-G1) win without drawing a deep breath. The one regret over her race is the absence of Unique Bella, whose own devastating talent is now on the shelf; a race showcasing these two fillies would be one to watch indeed.
The one thing that Beholder was never able to do was to win outside California, but that is likely to be Paradise Woods' next challenge as she is now tentatively slated for the Longines Kentucky Oaks (USA-G1) and a collision with pro tem divisional leader Farrell as well as last-out winners Miss Sky Warrior (Gazelle Stakes, USA-G2), Salty (Gulfstream Park Oaks, USA-G2) and Sailor's Valentine (Ashland Stakes, USA-G1). Because Paradise Woods is so lightly raced (the Santa Anita Oaks was only her third lifetime start), it is impossible to guess whether she will progress or regress from this race. If the former, Mandella won't need to read Paradise Regained---he will already have found his way back.