The $250,000 Grade 3 San Francisco Mile Stakes is a regularly anticipated feature during the Golden Gate Fields spring meeting. Not only is it a graded stakes with a quarter-million-dollar purse, it’s sandwiched between a great trio of races with the California Derby preceding and the California Oaks following this race.
Five of the eight entrants in this year’s San Francisco Mile ship up from Santa Anita Park in anticipation of victory. Among that group, the mare Keeper Ofthe Stars has some of the best credentials, having won the Grade 1 Gamely Stakes last May. She also sports a perfect 3-for-3 record on the Golden Gate turf course. Ohio has won 11 races in his career for $639,298 in lifetime earnings, a good portion of that when winning the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile in March 2019. Restrainedvengence has banked $642,182 to lead the field in earnings; his wins including the Downs at Albuquerque Handicap last September. Kiwi’s Dream missed by a head when second in last year’s San Francisco Mile and is a horse who has led through the opening half-mile in each of his last seven races. Whisper Not finished third in the Grade 2 Mathis Brothers Mile last December and enters the race off a sharp win at Santa Anita. Border Town finished third in the Grade 3 Thunder Road Stakes in February. Brown Storm is winless in six races since coming to the U.S. from South America and, like Kiwi’s Dream, appears to be a need-the-lead type, as does Diamond Blitz, who is stepping way up in class after facing claiming level horses for the past two years.
Keeper Ofthe Stars checks all the boxes when it comes to predicting the contenders in the San Francisco Mile Stakes. A winner of six of 13 career starts on turf, the mare beat some of the top fillies and mares in the U.S. last year twice in a row. She won the Buena Vista Stakes in February at this mile trip with a 112 Equibase Speed Figure, then took the Gamely Stakes last May with a career-best 115 figure. After a couple of disappointing efforts in June and August, Keeper Ofthe Stars was given time off, returning in top form following eight months away to win on the Golden Gate turf three weeks ago. Having put together back-to-back wins twice in the last 18 months and with a lot of improving to do physically in her second start back from a layoff, this mare (who gets a five-pound weight break versus her male opponents) is the one to beat.
Ohio also enters this race off a sharp effort in victory, winning the Cotton Fitzsimmons Mile Handicap at Turf Paradise for the third year in a row. With that win, Ohio brought his record at one mile on turf to seven for 20, including when victorious in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita in March, 2019, with a career-best 119 figure. In the fall of that year, Ohio finished second in the Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gate. His win in the Fitzsimmons Stakes came in his second start back following 10 months off so like Keeper Ofthe Stars, Ohio can be expected to improve off the 104 figure earned last time out and could give Keeper Ofthe Stars all she can handle in the stretch run.
Restrainedvengence is certainly no slouch, having earned more than any other horse in the field. His best effort may have been when beaten by a head in the City of Hope Mile at Santa Anita in the fall of 2019 where he earned a 113 figure, but he also ran well when capturing the All American Stakes last May at Golden Gate with a 112 figure. Like the other two top contenders, Restrainedvengence is very likely to improve, having returned from five months off in March when sixth then running a much better race last month when second in the Santana Mile Stakes. Although he finished fourth in last year’s San Francisco Mile, Restrainedvengence won his only other start on the Golden Gate turf course and must be respected as a contender to win in this year’s race.
The rest of the field (with best representative Equibase Speed Figure): Border Town (109), Brown Storm (105), Diamond Blitz (96), Kiwi’s Dream (112) and Whisper Not (109).
Keeper Ofthe Stars