Hard Not to Love has hurdles to overcome in Beholder

The Grade I, $400,000 Beholder Mile is the Saturday feature at Santa Anita. The prestigious heat formerly known as the Vanity attracted seven fillies and mares. Post time for the Beholder, the seventh of eight races on an all-dirt program necessitated by expected rainfall, is approximately 7:07 p.m. ET.

#2 DER LU (5-1) is the lone confirmed speed type in the Beholder, which goes a long way toward her being the top choice here. The daughter of Orb nearly wired the Grade III La Canada two-back but was nosed out by a game Queen Bee to You. DER LU relished the class drop in her most recent effort, setting the pace in a high-level allowance and kicking clear late. The Bob Baffert trainee is drilling forwardly for this and retains Abel Cedillo. DER LU’s only prior try at the one-mile distance resulted in a victory.

#1 HARD NOT TO LOVE (8-5, morning-line favorite) drew poorly as she attempts to stretch out to one mile on Saturday. She typically breaks slow from the gate but has been able to make up for it with natural talent. Though HARD NOT TO LOVE’s last two races, triumphs in the La Brea and Santa Monica, suggest she’s in peak form, she’s not in ideal circumstances in Saturday’s Beholder. Mike Smith rides the vulnerable favorite once more.

#6 OLLIE’S CANDY (3-1) makes her seasonal bow following a respectable fourth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. The daughter of Candy Ride has a win in three prior tries at Santa Anita, namely the Summertime Oaks back in 2018. Flavien Prat will be in the irons on OLLIE’S CANDY, who is training exceptionally for John Sadler.

The play: $3 exacta key box 2/1,6 ($12)

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