Mandella Says Sights Now Set On Grade I Santa Anita Derby April 9
ARCADIA, Calif. – Brilliant, stunningly brilliant. That best describes the Richard Mandella-trained Forbidden Kingdom, who in his first two turn assignment, showed six rivals nothing but four heels as he completely dominated Saturday’s Grade II, $400,000 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita and thus stamped his ticket to both the Santa Anita and Kentucky Derbies.
A chestnut colt by American Pharoah, Forbidden Kingdom won by 5 ¾ lengths over the Bob Baffert-trained Doppelganger while getting a mile and one sixteenth in 1:43.98.
Breaking like a rocket from post position six under Juan Hernandez, Forbidden Kingdom was immediately in charge and settled into a rhythmic stride up the backside. With an eight-length advantage at the three-furlong marker, Forbidden Kingdom prevailed by a similar margin turning for home over Doppelganger as the rest of the field struggled to keep up.
“I was anxious to see this race and see if he would get two turns,” said Mandella, who notched his third San Felipe win. “He looked even better. I was a little nervous when I saw the 45 (45.90) on the board for the first half. He just did what he likes to do. The next step is the Santa Anita Derby next month (Grade I, $$750,000 on April 9)…This guy is turning the corner and he’s grown up.”
With legendary Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay, Jr. presenting the San Felipe trophy, a huge throng of owners with MyRacehorse reveled in the Winner’s Circle ceremony. A 2 ¼ length winner of the Grade II San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs on Jan. 29, Forbidden Kingdom was off as the even money favorite and paid $4.00, $2.40 and $2.20.
Owned as well by Spendthrift Farm, LLC, Forbidden Kingdom, a $300,000 purchase as a yearling, picked up $240,000 for the win, as well as 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points. With total earnings of $434,000, Forbidden Kingdom, who picked up his second stakes win, is now 5-3-1-1.
“It worked out pretty well,” said Hernandez. “Mr. Mandella had the horse ready. He’s really fast. A couple of jumps after we broke, he was in front already. I let him run because if you fight with him, he tries to go faster. I let him have fun. I turned him loose and he never stopped, he kept going the whole race. He proved how good he is today.”
Fourth to Forbidden Kingdom in the San Vicente, Doppelganger, who was also stretching out for the first time in just his third start, never threatened the winner while putting 4 ¾ lengths on Happy Jack. Ridden by Flavien Prat, Doppelganger was off at 8-5 and paid $2.60 and $2.40.
A longshot at 26-1 with Abel Cedillo, Happy Jack finished five lengths clear of Beautiful Art and paid $5.00 to show.
Forbidden Kingdom’s fractions were 22.66, 45.90, 1:10.60 and 1:36.89.
Santa Anita Press Release
Photo of Forbidden Kingdom by Benoit Photos