Forbidden Kingdom defeats the Baffert trio in San Vicente - petsitterbank

Forbidden Kingdom defeats the Baffert trio in San Vicente

The connections of forbidden kingdom knew that their colt was fast.

After sprinting to a top score on his debut at Of the sea at the age of 2, the son of American pharaoh struggled to unwind in his next two runs, burning fast early fractions and failing to maintain his speed on the wire.

In an effort to exploit the floppy-footed colt, jockey Juan Hernandez, who has been aboard Forbidden Kingdom for each of his races, jumped on apprentice Richard Mandella in his morning breezes before the Jan. 29 $200,000 San Vicente Stakes (G2).

Those morning lessons paid off for the pair on Saturday as Forbidden Kingdom secured a decisive 2 1/4 length victory in the seven furlong race to Santa Anita Park.

“Today was a different horse,” Hernandez said. “He relaxed a bit more and that helped us a lot. Last time he went too fast. (Today) he kept going and never stopped.”

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Breaking away from the inside post, Forbidden Kingdom flew out of the gates to take command in the first sixty yards, leaving Bob Baffert’s trio of pinehurst , McLaren Vale and Doppleganger in its wake after a first quarter mile in: 21.86. Holding a two-length advantage down the straight, Forbidden Kingdom clocked a half mile in :44.49 and continued to lead down the stretch. Runhappy Del Mar Futurity (G1) winner Pinehurst chased but couldn’t catch Forbidden Kingdom, who willingly answered Hernandez’s right-handed call.

Pinehurst, making his first start since a fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile sponsored by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G1), tired late but had enough to hold second by a neckline over McLaren Vale.

Doppelganger, the 9-10 favorite, ran fourth, well ahead of What in Blazes, who ran last of five.

Forbidden Kingdom ($3.90), owned by Spendthrift Farm and MyRacehorse, ran all seven stages in 1:22.75. Although it can sometimes be a warm-up race for horses pointed to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1), the San Vicente is not worth points on the Kentucky Derby route.

Joe Moran, director of California racing for MyRacehorse, indicated that Derby dreams are on the horizon for Forbidden Kingdom, leaving the April 9 Runhappy Santa Anita Derby (G1) as a potential target at the current encounter.

“It was the first tick to take the next step,” Moran said. “Trainer Richard Mandella has done an amazing job trying to loosen this horse up in the morning. JJ (Hernandez) has been out several times in the morning to work with him before the race. And ultimately it will be the test. Can he can- he relax? But today was a good sign and we’ll enjoy this one until the next one.”

Bred by Springhouse Farm in Kentucky, Forbidden Kingdom was sold to Spendthrift Farm and MyRacehorse for $300,000 as a yearling at the 2020 The Saratoga sale of select Paramount Sales consignment yearlings. He’s out of the winning graduated stakes five star day big Just Louise the mother of three winners of four foals to run.

“Having bought this horse as a yearling makes the win even more special,” Moran said. “We bought it right after the hype of Authentic winning the Kentucky Derby. Buying him as a developing horse and going through that development process with him makes him even more special.”

Video: San Vicente S. (G2)

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