ARCADIA, Calif.—Forbidden Kingdom and Doppelganger, who finished 2 ¾ lengths apart at seven furlongs on Jan. 29, will renew acquaintances at a mile and one sixteenth on Saturday as they head the 83rd running of the Grade II, $400,000 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita.
An ultra-quick chestnut colt by 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, the Richard Mandella-trained Forbidden Kingdom sped to the early lead from his rail post position and dominated the Grade II San Vicente Stakes on Jan. 29, winning by 2 ¼ lengths while the Bob Baffert-conditioned Doppelganger checked in fourth as the 4-5 favorite.
Owned by Myracehorse and Spendthrift Farm, LLC, Forbidden Kingdom, who earned a lofty 94 Beyer Speed Figure in taking the Jan. 29 San Vicente, is out of the Five Star Day mare Just Louise. With two wins, a second and a third from four starts, Forbidden Kingdom, who was purchased for $300,000 as a yearling, has earnings of $194,000 and will be ridden for the fifth consecutive time by Juan Hernandez.
“He’s as quick as they come,” said Mandella following the San Vicente. “We’ll have to try two turns down the road here. He’s gotten better about everything. He was so professional today, everything went well. He used to get a little antsy in the gate…”
A 3 ½ length first-out maiden winner going six furlongs at Los Alamitos on Dec. 11, Doppelganger was subsequently off as the heavy favorite in the San Vicente and although he found his best stride in deep stretch he couldn’t make up the necessary ground to threaten for the win while earning an 89 Beyer.
Although he disappointed in his second start, Doppelganger, a bay colt by red-hot sire Into Mischief, has come back to train in superb fashion for Baffert and should relish the added distance on Saturday. Owned by SF Racing, LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, LLC, et al, Doppelganger is out of the Quiet American mare Twice the Lady and should he win, would provide Baffert with his record sixth San Felipe win.
Cast as the “Other Baffert,” Armagnac has the advantage of breaking his maiden at the San Felipe distance. Off at 4-5 in what was his second start, Armagnac led gate to wire here on Jan. 21, winning easily by 2 ¼ lengths. A $210,000 Keeneland September Yearling, he’s owned by SF Racing, LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, LLC, et al. By Quality Road out of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Kitty Wine, Armagnac looms dangerous in what will be his third start.
Versatile and battle-tested, the George Papaprodromou-trained Cabo Spirit has proven effective on both turf and dirt. Second, beaten 15 lengths by Baffert’s A-List sophomore Messier in the Grade III Robert B. Lewis at the San Felipe distance Feb. 6, Cabo Spirit, a winner of the one mile turf Eddie Logan Stakes two starts back on Jan. 2, has an overall mark of 8-2-2-2 with earnings of $177,220.
Owned by Kretz Racing, LLC, Cabo Spirit, who was purchased out of a 2-year-old in training sale last April, is by Pioneerof the Nile and is out of the Shamardal mare Fancy Day.
THE GRADE II SAN FELIPE STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 6 of 11 Approximate post time 2:30 p.m. PT
Happy Jack—Abel Cedillo—120
Worse Read Sanchez—Mario Gutierrez—120
Beautiful Art—Mike Smith–120
Forbidden Kingdom—Juan Hernandez—120
Cabo Spirit—Victor Espinoza–122
Early first post time for an 11-race card on Saturday is at 12 noon with admission gates opening at 10 a.m.
Santa Anita Press Office
Photo: Forbidden Kingdom/Benoit Photo