Beholder Mile Preview: Horse-by-Horse Analysis of Saturday's Grade I Race @SA

Santa Anita Park will host its annual renewal of the Grade I Beholder Mile on Saturday. See who is drawn in, and is ready for action!
Santa Anita Park will host its annual renewal of the Grade I Beholder Mile on Saturday. See who is drawn in, and is ready for action!

1 Mile (Dirt), Beholder Mile, Purse $300k, F&M 4+

Known in the previous century as the Vanity Handicap, this race was a staple on the card at Hollywood Park. With its demise, the contest was then moved to Santa Anita Park. It was renamed the Beholder after that Gary Stevens-ridden powerhouse won in 2016. Some famed milers have netted the trophy and the cash for this one over the years. Names like Bayakoa, Nashoba’s Key, Zenyatta, and more recently, Unique Bella and Ce Ce, have taken home the crown. Will it be another SoCal-based router that takes this prize home, or do we have a shipper who is rolling into town, ready to swoop in and pounce?

Now, let’s find out about this field…

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#1 Swiss Skydiver (Jky: R. Albarado/Trn: K. McPeek):

Earlier this week, Kenny McPeek’s accomplished filly from last year that beat the boys in the Preakness worked out for the final time before shipping to SoCal. Challenged by another Thoroughbred who was working out, she sped up with Robby Albarado aboard. The bullet try that was meant to be just a breeze proved she is on her game. As she heads into this contest, hopes are high that the Daredevil filly has what it takes to compete at the highest levels once again. If she is sharp, and I would imagine that to be the case, she will be very difficult to beat, even off the bench. She is a “deserving favorite” in every sense of the phrase. Albarado also shows @SA to ride her, and he only can add to what amounts to a HOF series of excellent rides. Big chance here… for the start of her 4-yr-old campaign.

Grade: A-

 

#2 Golden Principal (Jky: JJ Hernandez/Trn: B. Baffert):

Trainer Bob Baffert has no intention of letting Kenny McPeek come into his house and sweeping up the win in the Beholder Mile. He plans to send 2 entries in for good measure in the hopes of notching another victory in his HOF career. This filly by Constitution has an excellent recent class ascendency based on the local SA runs in the La Brea (G1) and the Santa Monica (G2). Those were both 2nd place finishes, and Baffert has managed her works well, in order to set her up for this race. I find it interesting that Mike Smith is not riding, and clearly chose to stick with As Time Goes By #6, Baffert’s other entry. That must mean something… Still, going with JJ Hernandez is not a poor decision, since his Meet has been nothing short of spectacular. If this filly can work out a ground-saving trip along the rail, then she has a shot to strike towards the end. She is up against a formidable crew here of 7 others though, so she is going to have to be at her best to extend a little more to the mile distance.

Grade: B+

 

#3 Harvest Moon (Jky: F. Prat/Trn: S. Callaghan):

Simon Callaghan and Kenny McPeek’s fillies squared off in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff back at Keeneland last November, and both watched Monomoy Girl score another celebrated victory. Neither of them ran very well that day, as the former lost the lead, and the latter never had it after stumbling out of the gate. Now, the SoCal-based conditioner has this daughter of Uncle Mo off the bench, and ready to run in this tough spot. If you remember, she shipped into Lexington after winning 4-straight. But that did not sway the bettors that day as she ended up 17/1 at post time. Her class was the major issue, since those scores were mainly against lesser company. The question is… what kind of maturation process has she undergone since then? Will regular rider Flavien Prat be on a different runner this time? Questions abound… what we do know is Callaghan has had some nice 3-yr-old fillies over the years, even though his “Graded” record is not tops. My sense is, this is a much deeper pool to start in, and like in the BC, she may just be out of her depth.

Grade: C

 

#4 Sanenus (Jky: U. Rispoli/Trn: M. McCarthy):

Trainer Mike McCarthy has been on a tear of late, but his “Graded” record is not much better than Callaghan’s. Still, I see this entry as a more favorable choice, since last out in a G3 @SA, La Canada, this mare out of Scat Daddy, was especially sharp. She won by 6-lengths, beating the place horse Miss Stormy D #5 (who is drawn next door), handily. I like her wise-girl status in this race, and I do not think she should be overlooked at all. These types are extremely sneaky, and each time she has contested a race, she has improved her figs. I like the choice of Umberto Rispoli to ride again, and even though back in her native Chile she had mixed outcomes in G1 races, she had form here. Might be a price that you want to play, and also make sure she gets into your exotic wagers.

Grade: B-

 

#5 Miss Stormy D (Jky: T. Baze/Trn: C. Gaines):

As I mentioned, we saw this mare 2-back in the La Canada (G3), finishing second to Sanenus #4. Trainer Carla Gaines then decided to try the Santa Anita turf, and that OC62.5k 1 mile was a flop. I am not sure what her intent was, other than she was trying to test this daughter of Tapizar’s versatility. At any rate, now she is headed back to the dirt, and much deeper company. I wouldn’t openly doubt Gaines because she has proven to be clever, and creative with her spots that she picks. However, I am having a hard time seeing how this Tyler Baze mount is going to measure up against a tough crowd like this one. Simply, way too much to do here.

Grade: C-

 

#6 As Time Goes By (Jky: M. Smith/Trn: B. Baffert):

As I mentioned, jockey Mike Smith is choosing to ride this daughter of American Pharoah who is an up-and-comer for Bob Baffert. She is wicked fast, and last time with Rosario aboard, she smoked, I mean smoked the 4 other runners that were drawn in. A 9-length score led many to think that she has a bright future, and indeed that is probably true. My question is can she make the leap into this 4-yr-old playground, against some pros like Swiss Skydiver #1. I would imagine that it is going to be difficult. If she could use that speed of hers to get on or at least near the lead, then she might have a shot. I am sure Baffert’s instructions to Smith are not too far off the plan of... reel 'em in. But then again, I am not privy to them! What I do know is that speed kills, that might be the mantra in this spot…

Grade: B

 

#7 This Tea (Jky: A. Cedillo/Trn: G. Papaprodromou):

Here is a daughter of the great Curlin. Robby Albarado, Swiss Skydiver’s #1 jockey, knew a thing or two about that Champion. Curlin's offspring this time around mixed in some nice performances as a 3-yr-old, but those were massively lower-class events that hovered around MSW affairs. Even with 3 tries in ALLW in 2021, I still do not see how George Papaprodromou expects this entry to win. There is simply too much for Abel Cedillo and company to do. Maybe a lower “Non-G” contest would have been in order?    

Grade: D

 

#8 Clockstrikestwelve (Jky: TJ Pereira/Trn: J. Wong):

I always like to see Jonathan Wong venture down to Santa Anita from the Northern California region. He sends this 5-yr-old mare into what looks like a really tough spot. Even though she has 5 wins-in-a-row, I wouldn’t think that ALLW and OC races qualify her to draw in here. New Year’s Day was a fine sire, but it doesn’t look to my eye that Wong’s Stable is up to the challenge. TJ Pereira is going to have to pull a rabbit out of a hat to get this one home for the win. Magic applied here…

Grade: C-

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Join us Saturday for all of our Santa Anita selections! Should be a great set of races from “The Great Race Place!”

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