Renamed in 2017 for one of the West Coast’s best distaff runners of the last decade, the Beholder Mile Stakes brings together a crack field of sharp female milers contesting a two-turn distance. A field of eight filled with graded stakes winners will square off in a race – formerly known as the Vanity Mile Stakes – that will award Grade 1 honors to the winner and ignite fervent hopes for a stellar 2023 campaign.
1. Kirstenbosch (12-1 morning-line odds): Has rounded into top form as a 4-year-old. Comes off a determined win in the Grade 3 La Canada Stakes at a longer 1 1/16-mile distance, but when she faced probable favorite Fun to Dream two starts back, she was third by four lengths. Can’t be ignored but others are more attractive for the win spot.
JOCKEY: Kazushi Kimura; TRAINER: John Sadler
2. Pauline’s Pearl (7-2): Makes her first trip to the West Coast after running against some of the Midwest’s top fillies last year. Kicked off 2023 with a win in the Houston Ladies Classic Stakes, following her 2022 script. She was second to Ce Ce in the Azeri Stakes after the Ladies Classic a year ago and figures to be a major player here.
JOCKEY: John Velazquez; TRAINER: Steve Asmussen
3. Awake At Midnyte (10-1): Consistent 4-year-old was a game second to Fun to Dream in the Grade 2 Santa Monica and Grade 1 La Brea Stakes in her last two starts. She figures to be a key contender here, though a career record of two wins from 11 starts indicates she’s a better bet for the bottom end of an exotic wager than the top.
JOCKEY: Mario Gutierrez; TRAINER: Doug O’Neill
4. Midnight Memories (4-1): Baffert-trained filly was the 2.20-1 favorite in the La Brea but could do no better than fourth. She should be helped by the added distance here, and after a sharp workout for this start she’s worth a long look if the odds drift up.
JOCKEY: Ramon Vazquez; TRAINER: Bob Baffert
5. A Mo Reay (5-1): Is in career-best form for trainer Brad Cox, who is usually quite selective about the horses he sends to the West Coast. She should work out a good trip behind the early speed and could be a force in the final furlong.
JOCKEY: Flavien Prat; TRAINER: Brad Cox
6. Ganadora (15-1): The second of three Bob Baffert horses in the field, she has some interesting credentials, topped by a nose loss last time out during a bumpy trip in the La Canada. She was a no-factor fifth in the La Brea and an eight-length winner of the Dark Mirage Stakes in her two previous tries. Her best effort makes her a factor here but she faces a stiff challenge in a field this deep and talented.
JOCKEY: Edwin Maldonado; TRAINER: Bob Baffert
7. Desert Dawn (4-1): Won the Santa Anita Oaks and was third in the Longines Kentucky Oaks last year, but has not raced since September and may not be ready for the Type A performance she’ll need to reach the winner’s circle here.
JOCKEY: Umberto Rispoli; TRAINER: Phil D’Amato
8. Fun to Dream (5-2): Seeks a fifth straight win for Baffert and is showing no signs of slowing down. Worked nicely for this start and, as a daughter of Arrogate, should have no problem stretching out to a two-turn mile fter running in a trio of one-turn, seven-furlong stakes. Looks like the one to beat.
JOCKEY: Juan Hernandez; TRAINER: Bob Baffert
THE PICK: Fun to Dream
LIVE LONGSHOT: Awake At Midnyte
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