Spirit of Makena Aims to Double up on Graded Wins in G2 Triple Bend

May 24, 2023

Spirit of Makena after his grade-making San Carlos (G3) score March 11 (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Santa Anita Press Box

ARCADIA, Calif.— George Papaprodromou‘s lightly raced 5-year-old Spirit of Makena, a head shy of being unbeaten in four starts, heads a field of seven older horses going seven furlongs in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Triple Bend Stakes at Santa Anita.

Unbeaten in two starts here this year, a six furlong allowance on Feb. 11 and most recently, the Grade III San Carlos Stakes at seven panels on March 11, Spirit of Makena, a full horse by Ghostzapper, will be ridden for the third consecutive time by Joe Bravo.

Owned by his breeder, Bruce Chandler, Spirit of Makena is out of the Gilded Time mare Win for M’lou. Unraced at two and three, he was a first-out maiden winner going 6 ½ furlongs on Aug. 5 at Del Mar and was then second, beaten a head in a first condition allowance going one mile Sept. 11.

Thus unbeaten sprinting, Spirit of Makena has banked $227,600.

A troubled second to world-class sprinter Dr. Schivel in a six-furlong classified allowance here on May 13, Peter Miller’s 9-year-old gelding C Z Rocket returns on two weeks notice and with a star-studded resume that includes three graded stakes wins and earnings of $2,008,441, he has to be considered the class of the field.

A Florida-bred by City Zip, C Z Rocket is owned by Altamira Racing Stable, Madaket Stables, LLC, Gary Barber and Tom Kagele. With five career stakes wins, his overall record stands at 38-12-8-5 and he’ll be ridden back by Ramon Vazquez.

A colt who showed tremendous promise as a newly turned 3-year-old, bagging victories in Santa Anita’s Grade II San Vicente Stakes Jan. 29 and San Felipe Stakes on March 5, 2022, Richard Mandella’s Forbidden Kingdom has been winless in five subsequent starts, with his lone out this year coming in the Grade III San Carlos, a race in which he finished second by 1 ½ lengths to Spirit of Makena.

With top jock Juan Hernandez again engaged, Forbidden Kingdom could be poised for a breakout performance. A 4-year-old colt by 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah out of the Five Star Day mare Just Louise, Forbidden Kingdom is owned by My Racehorse and Spendthrift Farm, LLC. With an overall mark of 10-3-3-2, he has earnings of $547,500.


Race 8 of 9  Approximate post time 4:30 p.m. PT

  1. Midnight Mammoth—Kyle Frey—120
  2. Desmond Doss—Umberto Rispoli—120
  3. Positivity—Tiago Pereira—120
  4. Forbidden Kingdom—Juan Hernandez—120
  5. Howbeit—Mike Smith—122
  6. Spirit of Makena—Joe Bravo—122
  7. C Z Rocket—Ramon Vazquez—120

First post time for a nine-race card on Saturday is at 1 p.m. with admission gates opening at 11 a.m.

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