Kimura Returns for San Francisco Mile

San Francisco Mile (Grade 3)- $250.000 Purse
GG- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile on the Turf
April 25, 2020

Among the great racing that will take place this weekend is the 14th running of the San Francisco Mile, a race that is for three year olds and up, but has dominated by the threes in recent years. It is also a race that has gotten a lot of attention due to being the featured race in the return of the HRP Survivor contest on the forum. The race holds interesting history in terms of its purse, initially being run for $400.000, then dropping as low as $100.000, and actually being at that level for a while. In 2018, it worked its way back up to $200.000, and was at the $250.000 price point last year. City Of Bones topped a field of nine in this race last year for John Henry, coming from near the back of the field to win the stretch. He’s been productive since, including placing second in the BC Mile last year, and remains active at the graded level. There are plenty of horses to get your attention in this field, including two reigning BC champions. Let’s get to the field!

#1- Kimura (Mb Stables, ridden by R Bejarano)- If you are looking for a horse to pick for this race, Kimura checks every box you want. He’ll get to start from this post position, and enjoyed the seven pound weight advantage over the older horses in the field. That said, most of the horses in this race are three years old. He’s been nearly perfect in his career, with five wins in six races, and that includes the BC Juvenile Turf Sprint. After that race, he has successfully converted into running longer. Seems about as safe a pick as one can make in the survivor contest, just like Tactical was. He should do better then Tactical did. Let’s hope.

#2- Sundays Sauce (Calia Stable, ridden by F Prat)- Wins have been very hard to come by for the trainer this season, but a victory here could be a start of turning that momentum around. This four year old will have to overcome the weight issue, and given the overall talent of the three year olds here, I think that might be tough. That doesn’t mean I am ruling him out, because a work here last week suggests he is ready to roll. He is a horse that has won a couple stakes before, and could be ready to change his own recent form.

#3- Command Authority (Nakamura Stables, ridden by S R Bahen)- If you are looking at one of the older horses in this field to support, then this seems like the best choice. I would feel better about him too if he did not have to carry seven more pounds then Kimura or Hollywood Estrella. That said, we should still be expecting him to be factor especially with the way he ran while winning the Canadian Turf on leap day, earning a 102 SRF. It could be said that he is climbing the ladder still in his career, as he has been better since arriving with Nakamura and being gelded soon after.

#4- Hollywood Estrella (Estero Farms, ridden by J R Velazquez)- Made a name for himself late last fall in winning the BC Juvenile Turf at SA which was one of three races that he captured during that season. He had an almost hidden showdown with Kimura in the race after that, because they were two of the four horses in an optional claimer. Honestly, the other two horses in that field were quite good, too. Ran third in the Grade 3 Palm Beach on Leap Day, falling victim to falling too far out of the race early on. Be looking for him to run well here, but I am still leaning towards Kimura.

#5- Dons Carry On (Nolespan Racing, ridden by Mar Garcia)- A lightly raced three year old that will be making just the fifth start of his career. It is a hard horse to get a feel for as an outsider, as he only has three public works, and they are four furlong breezes. Had two races in March, one a dismal showing on the main track, but the winning the ungraded Cutler Bay at GP. That suggests he can do quite well here, but I’d like to see what he does against this field to get a better feel for him.

#6- Edging In (Nakamura Stables, ridden by A T Gryder)- This five year old gelding started the year off by winning the Grade 2 San Gabriel at SA, and remained at that track to finish fourth in the Kilroe Mile last month. In his recent career, he seems a bit hit and miss to me, and when considering he has to carry more weight then key contributors here, I would have liked to see more consistency. Not one to rule out, but I will look elsewhere.

#7- Commanding Runner (Njvets, ridden by K Carmouche)- We are seeing a lot of people picking this horse as the one to finish behind their top choice in the survivor competition. Having your last two finishes be in the double digits will do that. The last time out was ugly, but it was on soft turf, and if he has been placed in this race after that, I think its safe to call that a throw out. The race before that was the BC Juvenile Turf, and it looked like that was due to changed tactic that didn’t work out. That could be a throw that too, but prior to that the races that he was in do not instill much confidence for success here.

#8- Eggs and Bacon- Scratched

#9- Fuji (Smokey Stover, ridden by A Beschizza)- The three year old colt by What Have You Done is making his graded stake debut in this race after good success in his first five starts. Two races back, he was third in the $200.000 Texas Turf Mile, and followed that up by winning the $200.000 Pasadena Stakes on Leap Day. This is a tough field to make your graded debut against, but I do like that he knows how to win a race, doing so three of five times, and think he could get a piece of the purse.

#10- Batman G (High Voltage, ridden by I Ortiz Jr)- This is a horse that is getting some play in the survivor contest as well for the “behind” horse. It’s tough to look past his last two starts, as they do not make one optimistic about his chances. However, High Voltage still thinks highly of him, picking him up in private sales for $100.000, and after a month, is set to run him in his silks for the first time. His public works are good, but they were before the sale, and before running flat in a five furlong ungraded stake. It’s tough to make a three year old the “behind” pick, but it seems like a good option for that.

#11- Butter Ball (Chili King Stables, ridden by E J Wilson)- The trainer picked him up in private sales at the beginning of February for $125.000, coming soon after a sharp looking win in the ungraded Tropical Turf Stakes. He has been entered in bigger races before, and has a hard time stepping up against bigger competition. That will make this assignment hard for him, but I still think he could have been competitive at an equal weight against this company. Having to carry the extra pounds as an older horse makes him hard for me to support.

#12- Dawning Drei (Oquinn Farm, ridden by B J Hernandez Jr)- Starting on the far outside, this three year old could be an overlook contender in this race given that it seems like most of our top contenders are on the inside. He’s very consistent, hitting the board in eight of ten starts, three of them being wins. Ran second to Kimura in the BC Juvenile Turf Sprint last fall as well, but he has not transitioned himself into this distance like Kimura has. Only once has he tried going more then five and a half furlongs, and he was decent but not amazing. I’m very curious about what he’ll do and think he can play a spoiler here, but I am hesitant to pick him.

Prediction: 1-4-9-3

— NS

Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES

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