April 16, 2024

Champion Swiss Skydiver faces stern test in Beholder Mile return

Swiss Skydiver
Swiss Skydiver (Coady Photo/Oaklawn Park)

Beholder Mile (G1) — Race 8 (7 p.m. ET)

Swiss Skydiver, the 2020 champion three-year-old filly, will kick off her much anticipated four-year-old campaign on Saturday in the $300,000 Beholder Mile (G1) at Santa Anita, a familiar site for the cross-country traveler.

The Kenny McPeek-trainee will break from post 1, the same slot she broke from in the Santa Anita Oaks (G2) last June. Swiss Skydiver won that race by four lengths, capping a three-race win streak that also encompassed the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) and Fantasy (G3).

Swiss Skydiver later went on to finish second against the boys in the Blue Grass (G2) and then handily won the Alabama (G1). Subsequently second in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), she cemented her championship honors by edging eventual Horse of the Year Authentic in the Preakness (G1), only the second filly to win the Pimlico classic since the 1920s.

Although seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) when last seen, Swiss Skydiver should be favored on Saturday. However, the Beholder Mile has come up a strong race, with approximately half the field of eight fillies and mares possessing legitimate win credentials.

The late-developing Harvest Moon was the top sophomore filly on the Southern California circuit last fall following wins in the Torrey Pines (G3) and against older in the Zenyatta (G2). She, too, contested the Breeders’ Cup Distaff and fared much better than the unlucky Swiss Skydiver, finishing 2 1/2 length fourth behind Monomoy Girl.

As Time Goes By only debuted in August, but has won her last two by a combined margin of 13 lengths and is poised to make a big splash in he stakes debut for Bob Baffert. The regally-bred daughter of American Pharoah and Take Charge Lady exits a nine-length, first-level allowance win over the Beholder Mile track and distance.

Others to watch for are Sanenus, a six-length scorer over Miss Stormy D in the La Canada (G3) in early January, and Golden Principal, who stretches out after runner-up finishes in the Santa Monica (G2) and the La Brea (G1) in her last two.

San Simeon S. (G3) — Race 7 (6:30 p.m. ET)

Unraced since May and with only two starts under his belt since July 2019, the seven-year-old Cistron still bears watching in his title defense of the $100,000 San Simeon S. (G3), a six-furlong turf dash.

In the event the Grade 1 veteran is found short, the Brazilian mare Jolie Olimpica is a solid prospect. The daughter of Drosselmeyer has been first or second in all five outings since her importation, though her second-place run in the Jan. 9 Las Cienegas (G3) was a bit flat by her standards.

Shortening off runner-up efforts in the San Gabriel (G2) and Thunder Road (G3) is Bob and Jackie, while a Peter Miller-trained pair in the San Simeon includes Grade 3 veteran Sombeyay and recent Palos Verdes (G3) silver medalist Shashashakemeup.