Top-level action returns to Santa Anita on Saturday with older horses competing in the $400,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1) on the grass and fillies and mares squaring off in the $400,000 Beholder Mile (G1).
Catapult, a narrowly-beaten second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) last fall after back-to-back scores in the Eddie Read (G2) and Del Mar Mile (G2), looms the horse to beat in the Kilroe. The John Sadler trainee was most recently fourth in the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) at Gulfstream over testing ground, in which he made an early move to the lead before fading in the stretch.
Also exiting that lucrative event is Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) and San Gabriel (G2) winner Next Shares, who was a non-threatening seventh. The Richard Baltas charge has finished well behind Catapult in their four most recent meetings.
Hunt has been unplaced in three starts since taking the Shoemaker Mile (G1) last May, while multiple graded stakes winner River Boyne seeks his first win against older horses after running fourth as a 7-10 favorite in the February 9 Thunder Road (G3). Ohio, the runner-up in the latter event, and Desert Stone complete the compact field.
Marley’s Freedom is a proven one-turn specialist, but her two-turn ability will be determined in the Beholder Mile. After disappointing as an odds-on favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1), the Grade 1 winner gutted out a win in the one-mile Go for Wand H. (G3) at Aqueduct around one turn and then had an easier time dispensing with Selcourt and Mopotism in the seven-furlong Santa Monica (G2) last month.
Paradise Woods, a past winner of the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) and Zenyatta (G1) over 1 1/16 miles, could move forward off a season-opening fifth in the Santa Monica following a seven-month spell.
Hero of the Californian (G2) and second in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) to Accelerate last summer, Dr. Dorr turns back in distance for his first outing since August in the $200,000 San Carlos (G2) at seven furlongs. trained by Bob Baffert, he’ll be joined by stablemates Ax Man and Zatter to face graded veterans Kanthaka, St. Joe Bay, and Solid Wager. California Cup Sprint winner Touching Rainbows is also in the lineup.
Multiple graded stakes winner Elysea’s World will seek to improve on her sixth in last month’s Buena Vista (G2) in her debut for Baltas in the $100,000 Santa Ana (G3) over 1 1/4 miles on the turf. Buena Vista runner-up Streak of Luck and Red Carpet H. (G3) heroine India Mantuana are also among the field.