by Jeremy Plonk
April 28, 2022
GRADE 3 $250,000 SAN FRANCISCO MILE AT GOLDEN GATE FIELDS
It's the biggest day on the racing calendar in Northern California as the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile tops a Golden Gate Fields card that also boasts the California Derby and Oaks. The San Francisco Mile goes as Race 9 of 12 among a half-dozen stakes races.
GET HER NUMBER is a G1 winner on dirt, NOLDE a G2 turf victor, RESTRAINEDVENGEANCE and FREEPORT JOE are G3 domestic turf winners, and ECRIVAIN is a French G3 winner on grass. The deep lineup includes several graded stakes-placed sorts like INDIAN PEAK, VANNZY, TIZ PLUS, DELAWARE and 2020 San Fran Mile third-place finisher CAMINO DEL PARAISO. In terms of the consistent class, the foreigner ECRIVAIN may have the strongest argument, followed by DELAWARE and RESTRAINEDVENGEANCE.
With 14 turf milers, expect the pace to be brisk into the clubhouse turn with position of such importance. JIMMY BLUE JEANS, TIZ PLUS and GET HER NUMBER appear quickest early, and the latter will have to motor early to compensate for a wide post draw. CAMINO DEL PARAISO should be just off the second flight. The pace should be moderate at worst, and maybe a touch on the quick side.
Turf mile races often go to specialists, as much as any division of races in the game. Too many horses are misplaced here because of the crossroads distance between sprint and route. Dirt horses get tossed here as in-betweeners that don't fit just right elsewhere. The true turf milers here in terms of experience and success are TIZ PLUS, DELAWARE, CAMINO DEL PARAISO, RESTRAINEDVEGEANCE and ECRIVAIN. Sort through those 5 of 14 entrants and you'll most likely find the winner. VANZZY kind of hits on the fringes, too, but I prefer some of the aforementioned runners. GET HER NUMBER offers danger upon his best and might end up being a turf miler after trying a bit of everything.
TIZ PLUS and DELAWARE come via SoCal as have the last 4 San Francisco Mile winners. Trainer Paddy Gallagher brought Flambouyant here in 2018 to win and will try to replicate that with DELAWARE, who clearly has faced the stronger company of the SoCal milers discussed here. But between them, they're 1-16 in the winner's circle in 2021-'22 and may be better players for the exotics. NoCaler CAMINO DEL PARAISO has been a bit flat late in his last few starts and that fate did him in when a close third in this race in 2020. You almost expect a similar solid, but unsuccessful outcome.
This should come down to current SoCal residents RESTRAINEDVENGEANCE and ECRIVAIN. The former has had great success in limited turf mile bids, while the latter got the perfect, old-school allowance prep in his first US start. Richard Mandella now has ECRIVAIN loaded for the money race for $250,000.
Most Certain Exotics Contender:
RESTRAINED VENGEANCE was third in this race last year, has classy running lines and the mile suits him.
Best Longshot Exotics Contender:
TIZ PLUS has finished third in his last pair of turf mile stakes bids at 16-1 and 17-1. He'll be a nice number again and could get a share underneath.
Sending it in ($100 bankroll):
$100 win ECRIVAIN.