Unique Bella should get back on track in Beholder Mile

The Grade I, $400,000 Beholder Mile drew a compact but quality field of six led by UNIQUE BELLA, VALE DORI and PARADISE WOODS. Santa Anita plays host to the illustrious event this Saturday; estimated post time is 7:30 p.m. EST. The Beholder Mile goes as Race 9 on a 10-race program. In addition to watching and wagering, be sure to take part in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

#6 UNIQUE BELLA (3-5, morning-line favorite) had a disastrous start in Oaklawn’s Apple Blossom last time out. She had every right to quit in her first race outside California, but UNIQUE BELLA battled bravely for most of the journey before settling for second. The daughter of Tapit returns to her favorite track, where she’s 6-for-7 lifetime, and retains Hall-of-Fame rider Mike Smith. As long as there are no gate mishaps, UNIQUE BELLA should stalk her chief rivals before pouncing in the lane.

#5 VALE DORI (4-1) probably needed her last when she ran fifth in the Adoration off a nine-month break. The Bob Baffert trainee had won six straight dating back to October of 2016 before two gritty defeats to Stellar Wind last summer. VALE DORI has shown an affinity for Santa Anita in her career (5-for-8 lifetime) and lures Rafael Bejarano. She should be laying close to the lead set by PARADISE WOODS.

#4 PARADISE WOODS (2-1) will likely be sent along early by Flavien Prat in her second start of the year. She was conquered by UNIQUE BELLA in the La Brea two-back before fading badly in the Santa Monica. “Sore feet” was her latest excuse; she only seems to win under the most facile of circumstances.

The play: $5 exacta 6/4,5 ($10)

DFJ analysis: The comebacking Rafael Bejarano looks like a solid investment this Saturday. He rides in five races, and all but one of those mounts are 4-1 or less. That includes 7-5 favorite Kona Coast in Race 4 and VALE DORI in the Beholder.

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