2023 Beholder Mile & San Carlos Stakes Odds & Betting Preview

There are class acts aplenty at Santa Anita on Saturday, when the very progressive Fun To Dream bids for a five-timer in the G1 2023 Beholder Mile against fellow G1 winner Pauline’s Pearl, and the speedy Forbidden Kingdom takes on old rival Get Her Number in what could be a proper burn-up for the G3 San Carlos.

Dubai World Cup Odds

Beholder Mile

G1, $500,000, 1m dirt, 4yo+ females, 3.59pm PT

Sometimes when it comes to California G1s it’s all about one familiar controversial master trainer, but the 2023 Beholder Mile at Santa Anita is a strong, closely contested race that has much more going for it than merely being a Bob Baffert benefit.

He does have the morning-line favorite among his three contenders, however, with Fun To Dream (5-2) bidding to stretch her winning streak to five. She had a host of today’s rivals behind her when winning the G1 La Brea here over seven furlongs in December, taking control at the top of the stretch and digging in gamely to hit the wire three-quarters of a length ahead of Awake At Midnyte (10-1), who was three and a quarter lengths clear of the rallying Kirstenbosch (12-1) in the ‘show’ spot. Her barnmates Midnight Memories (4-1) and Ganadora (15-1) were fourth and fifth, beaten four and a half lengths and six lengths respectively.

Last time out Fun To Dream again demonstrated her superiority over Awake At Midnyte, running her down in the seven-furlong G2 Santa Monica to win by two and a half lengths, and it’s likely that she will continue to progress. Moving back up to a mile won’t be a problem.

Kirstenbosch and Ganadora did their bit for the La Brea form when first and second in the G3 La Canada here over a mile-sixteenth, separated by just a nose after Kirstenbosch nailed the front-running Ganadora on the line. It was Kirstenbosch’s first stakes success and she is on the upgrade.

On her previous start Midnight Memories had beaten Awake At Midnyte (who can’t catch a break against Baffert horses, and is zero-for-nine in stakes) by three and a quarter lengths in the G2 Zenyatta here over a mile-sixteenth, but she lacks the race-fitness of her rivals.

A Mo Reay (5-1) ran a career-best last month when coming along late to grab the G3 Bayakoa over a mile-sixteenth at Oaklawn Park by a half-length, but this is much, much tougher and she’ll need to make another big leap forward, which is asking a lot.

Fellow last-time-out winner Pauline’s Pearl (7-2) was landing the mile-sixteenth G3 Houston Ladies Classic at Sam Houston in Texas for the second year running, her first start after seven months on the sidelines. She should be cherry-ripe now and had the class to win the G1 La Troienne at Churchill Downs last spring, and the slight cutback shouldn’t disadvantage her.

Last year’s G2 Santa Anita Oaks winner and longshot G1 Kentucky Oaks third Desert Dawn (4-1) is coming off a six-month layoff since chasing home Midnight Memories in the G3 Torrey Pines over the Del Mar mile, and she needed her first start of last year. The collateral form gives her plenty to find anyway.

2023 Beholder Mile Odds & Betting Pick

Fun To Dream is the pick of the locals but it may be worth chancing PAULINE’S PEARL, who’ll be spot-on now after her solid recent victory after a long break.

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
KirstenboschKazushi Kimura+1200
Pauline’s PearlJohn R. Velazquez+350
Awake At MidnyteMario Gutierrez+1000
Midnight MemoriesRamon A. Vazquez+400
A Mo ReayFlavien Prat+500
GanadoraEdwin A. Maldonado+1500
Desert DawnUmberto Rispoli+400
Fun to DreamJuan J. Hernandez+250

San Carlos Stakes

G3, $200,000, 7f dirt, 4yo+, 2.29pm PT

Some horses are versatile, some are one-trick ponies, and a fine example of the latter goes to the gate for the San Carlos, the highlight of Santa Anita’s undercard.

Last March, Forbidden Kingdom (8-5) was being touted as a major player on the Kentucky Derby scene, with his blitzing all-the-way romp in the G2 San Felipe here over a mile-sixteenth seemingly giving him excellent credentials for Churchill Downs in May. However, that bubble burst when he sustained an injury in the G1 Santa Anita Derby and spent the next six months on the bench.

Thing is, he was never a router anyway. That San Felipe breeze was gained against weak opposition, misleading observers as to his stamina, and he has fared well in sprints on his return. Two runs over six – we’ll get to them further down – was followed by a fine effort in the G1 Malibu over course and distance, when he towed them along and kept on gamely despite having no chance with easy winner Taiba.

He’ll hit the lids and go, because that’s all he really knows how to do, and with class relief on his side it’ll give him a better chance of making it home.

Main market rival Get Her Number (9-5) had the trailblazing Forbidden Kingdom three-quarters of a length behind in third when winning an allowance optional claimer at Del Mar over six furlongs in November, with Howbeit (5-1) three lengths and one place further back.

That does seem Get His Number’s level now – three wins in AOCs in the last 12 months, zero-for-six in Graded stakes, although he was a G1 winner as a juvenile – and he was outclassed and outstayed in the G1 Pegasus World Cup last time.

Howbeit also had a verdict over Forbidden Kingdom last year, when making his stakes breakthrough with victory in the G2 Santa Anita Sprint Championship over six furlongs, holding on bravely to win by a nose, with Forbidden Kingdom four lengths back in fifth on his first start for six months.

That was slightly out of character, though, and Howbeit made little impact when fourth in the G3 Palos Verdes here over six furlongs on his first start of 2023. His barnmate Holden The Lute (6-1) works the AOC scene and beat Clem Labine (20-1) by three and a half lengths over course and distance last month, but that won’t be enough to put him in the mix in this classy contest.

The incredibly lightly raced Spirit Of Makena (4-1) is just two-for-three at the age of five, and did show promise when winning an AOC here over six furlongs last month, but runs without Lasix for the first time today and could be out of his depth.

San Carlos Stakes Odds & Betting Prediction

The front-running FORBIDDEN KINGDOM has done all his best work here, and on the evidence of his G1 form behind Taiba in December has a big class edge on his rivals.

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
Holden the LuteLanfranco Dettori+600
Forbidden KingdomJuan J. Hernandez+160
Spirit of MakenaJoe Bravo+400
Clem LabineKyle Frey+2000
Get Her NumberFlavien Prat+180
HowbeitMike E. Smith+500

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