Marley’s Freedom, Selcourt to renew rivalry in Beholder

The Grade I, $400,000 Beholder Mile is the feature on the first Saturday card at Santa Anita in four weeks.  A field of seven will line up for this one, led by Santa Monica exacta finishers MARLEY’S FREEDOM and SELCOURT. Post time for the Beholder, Race 9 of a scheduled 10, is 8:28 p.m. EST.

#5 MARLEY’S FREEDOM (4-5, morning-line favorite) should prove hard to beat in the Beholder. The Bob Baffert trainee was able to avenge a loss to SELCOURT in the 2018 Santa Monica in the same event last time out, burying Beholder entrants #3 PARADISE WOODS (6-1) and #7 MOPOTISM (6-1) in the process. Unlike her main rival in this race, MARLEY’S FREEDOM already has experience routing, as she took Aqueduct’s Go For Wand two starts back. The works she put in for this race are strong, and Drayden Van Dyke has the call once more. MARLEY’S FREEDOM is the fastest horse in the speed figure department and should prove hard to hold off barring a nightmarish trip.

#2 SELCOURT (5-1) and Tyler Baze will probably try to steal the race up front. She hasn’t won in three starts since the 2018 Santa Monica, but SELCOURT has been a respectable second two straight times. The prep works for John Sadler are solid and she loves this course (8-4-3-1). It doesn’t appear that the extra ground will help her cause on Saturday, but stranger things have happened.

#6 JUST A SMIDGE (10-1) and Assael Espinoza will try to play spoiler in the Beholder. She’s won two of her last three starts in frontrunning fashion but has never hit the board against stakes competition. A stablemate of the top choice, JUST A SMIDGE may attempt to soften up SELCOURT in the early stages of the race.

The play: $10 trifecta 5/2/6

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