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Dr. Miranda previews the 2023 Beholder Mile Stakes (G1) from Santa Anita Park, then gives her top picks & long shots. The Bob Baffert-trained Fun to Dream chases her 5th straight win, but shippers Pauline’s Pearl and A Mo Reay bring enough back class to make this test challenging. Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
A Grade I winner in search of her fifth consecutive win, California-bred Fun to Dream heads an outstanding field of eight older fillies and mares in Saturday’s Grade I, $500,000 Beholder Mile at Santa Anita.
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By 2016 Eclipse Champion 3-year-old Colt Arrogate, Fun to Dream took the opening day Grade I La Brea Stakes at seven furlongs and dominated five rivals at the same distance in taking the Grade II Santa Monica Stakes here on Feb. 4 in a performance that suggested she’ll have no problem taking on top competition at a flat mile.
Bred in California by her trainer, Bob Baffert and Connie Pageler, Fun to Dream, who is out of the Maria’s Mon mare Lutess, is owned by Connie Pageler and Jill Baffert.
A winner of her only two-turn assignment, a mile and one sixteenth first condition allowance four starts back on Oct. 1, Fun to Dream has won six out of her seven starts and is building a resume that has her on-track to perhaps being considered one of California’s best-ever distaffers. With earnings of $546,590, Fun to Dream will be ridden for the eighth consecutive time by Juan Hernandez.
One of two prominent eastern shippers in the Beholder lineup, the Steve Asmussen-trained Pauline’s Pearl, a Grade I winner who comes off a solid win over a muddy surface going 1 1/16 miles at Sam Houston Race Park on Jan. 28, rates a huge chance with John Velazquez taking over for the first time.
A four-time overall graded stakes winner, Pauline’s Pearl, a 5-year-old mare by Tapit out of the Dixie Union mare Hot Dixie Chick, is owned by her breeder, Stonestreet Holding, LLC. Based at Fairgrounds in New Orleans, Pauline’s Pearl, who is 16-7-3-3 with earnings of $1,873,400, will be making her first Southern California start on Saturday.
Another talented shipper with a big chance is the Brad Cox-trained A Mo Reay, who will be ridden for the first time by Flavien Prat. A 4-year-old filly by Uncle Mo, she’s won two in a row, and ungraded stakes at a mile and 70 yards two starts back on Dec. 31 in New Orleans and in her first graded victory, a half length win going 1 1/16 miles in the Grade III Bayakoa at Oaklawn Park Feb. 4.
Owned by Hunter Valley Farm, A Mo Reay, who also ships west for the first time, is 11-4-1-3 overall with earnings of $392,650.
Fourth as the 2-1 favorite in the Grade I La Brea on Dec. 26, Baffert’s Midnight Memories, a galloping 3 ¼ length winner of the Grade II Zenyatta Stakes at a mile and one sixteenth on Oct. 2, will hope to bounce back as she stretches out on Saturday.
A 4-year-old filly by Mastery out of the Midnight Lute mare Tiz Midnight, Midnight Memories is owned by her breeders, Mike Pegram, Paul Weitman and Karl Watson. Favored in five out of her six starts, she has four wins and a third place finish with earnings of $304,680. A winner of the Grade III Torrey Pines Stakes at Del Mar three starts back on Sept. 4, Midnight Memories will be ridden for the fourth consecutive time by Ramon Vazquez.
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Third at 31-1 in the Grade I La Brea, Keith Abrahams’ homebred Kirstenbosch unfurled an impressive turn of foot stretching out to 1 1/16 miles in the Grade III La Canada Stakes, winning by a nose under a patient ride from Kuzushi Kimura.
Trained by John Sadler, Kirstenbosch is a 4-year-old filly by Midnight Lute who is on the improve and will again be ridden by Kimura, who’s looking for his fourth stakes win of the meet. Out of the Belong to Me mare Llandudno, Kirstenbosch is 10-3-3-1 overall with earnings of $334,480.
Arizona-bred Desert Dawn, idle since Sept. 4, and an upset winner of last year’s Grade II Santa Anita Oaks, adds considerable depth to the field for red-hot trainer Phil D’Amato, who bagged six victories last weekend, including two stakes.
A 4-year-old filly by Cupid owned and bred by H & E Ranch, Desert Dawn is out of the Honour and Glory mare Ashley’s Glory. In addition to her Santa Anita Oaks win, Desert Dawn has been graded stakes placed on five occasions and with an overall mark of 11-2-2-4, she has earnings of $621,150. She’ll be reunited with regular rider Umberto Rispoli in the Beholder Mile.
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