Forbidden Kingdom won the $400,000 San Felipe Stakes by 5 3/4 lengths, beating two 3-year-old colts from Bob Baffert’s barn.
Juan Hernandez Ridden Forbidden Kingdom ran 1 1/4 miles in 1:43.98, on a rainy, 55-degree Santa Anita day.
Forbidden Kingdom was trained by Richard Mandella, a Hall of Famer. He won his third career win. Baffert trained him as a son of American Pharoah 2015 Triple Crown winner.
He was simply amazing. Baffert spoke about Forbidden Kingdom, saying that he was just too fast and kept going faster. “(Flavien Prat) said that he thought at the quarter pole that he was going after him, but he continued to fly. I told him that his father did the same thing. It’s a wonderful day for Pharoah. He will always be in my heart.”
Forbidden Kingdom was the first to try two turns.
“I was very anxious. Mandella stated, “You don’t know if this horse will get two turns. But he looked better.”
The colt has won four of his victories and led the entire way.
Hernandez stated, “He’s very fast.” Hernandez added, “A few jumps after our break, he had already been in front and I let him run. He ran unabated. He was amazing.
Forbidden Kingdom was the even-money favorite among seven horses. They paid $4, $2.40, and $2.20. 50 points were earned by the chestnut colt for qualifying for the Kentucky Derby on Mai 7.
Mandella has not been a starter in Kentucky Derby since 1998, when he is 0 for 6. After a throat problem, his last trip to Louisville was a heartbreaking one.
“Omaha is a great horse. Mandella stated that the guy is changing in this direction. “We just hope that we can keep him as great as he is now.”
Baffert trained Doppelganger, who returned $2.60 to $2.40 after bouncing back from his fourth-place finish at the San Vicente. Forbidden Kingdom beat him in the race on Jan. 25.
Baffert stated that he is still learning to run and was chasing a fast horse. I think he will move forward from that.”
Baffert’s 9-2 shot Armagnac was the other entry. It placed sixth.
Happy Jack, another 4 3/4 lengths behind in third, was paid $5 to show.
Baffert’s Santa Anita day started promisingly. Baffert finished second in the second race of the card and won $200,000 San Carlos Stakes along with his 3-5 favorite Cezanne.
He also steered 1-5 favorite AsTime Goes By to a victory of 2 1/4 lengths in the $500,000 Beholder Mile fillies and mares. Varda was his other entry.
Baffert’s entry Rockefeller finished last in the Gotham Stakes 10-horse field at New York’s Aqueduct. The $300,000 race gave Kentucky Derby qualifying points for the top four finishers. Morello was the winner.
Baffert stated that he didn’t like it when he fell back and stumbled, because if that happened I would have wanted him to be near the lead. He never got involved after he fell. I am going to send him to Kentucky to give him a break.”
Baffert was permitted to race in New York while he awaits the final ruling of the New York Racing Association in his case to ban him.
Baffert’s Friday request to have his suspension of 90 days stayed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission was denied. After a Kentucky Stewards ruling, Baffert was disqualified from the victory in the 2021 Kentucky Derby. He failed a postrace drug screening.
Baffert stated, “We’re fighting to save that horse.” “To me, he shouldn’t have been disqualified.”
Original plans called for the suspension to start on Tuesday. Instead, a Kentucky judge will decide whether a stay should issue.
It’s a slow process. Baffert stated that although it has been difficult, they will persevere and fight the good fight. “We have all the facts and truth on our side. “You’re only hoping that cooler heads will prevail.”
Churchill Downs has banned Baffert for two years due to Medina Spirit’s failure test. To reverse the ban, the trainer filed a federal suit this week. The track was forced to allow his horses to earn qualifying point for the Derby. Doppelganger was not awarded the 20 points for placing second in the San Felipe.