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BackSanta Anita

Road to the 2022 Kentucky Derby: San Felipe Stakes Analysis

Jay PrivmanMar 06, 2022

Click Here for video
Forbidden Kingdom wins San Felipe 3-5-2022
Emily ShieldsForbidden Kingdom earned a 98 Beyer Speed Figure for his victory in the San Felipe Stakes.

Grade 2, $401,000 San Felipe Stakes, 1 1/16 miles, Santa Anita, March 5, 2022
(50 Derby qualifying points for first, 0 for second, 10 for third, 5 for fourth)

Winner: Forbidden Kingdom, by American Pharoah
Trainer: Richard Mandella
Jockey: Juan Hernandez
Owner: My Racehorse and Spendthrift Farm
Beyer Speed Figure: 98

FORBIDDEN KINGDOM has been patiently handled by Mandella, who waited until start number five to attempt two turns. The work Mandella has put in to getting this fast colt to carry his speed longer distances paid off when Forbidden Kingdom scored an easy victory in this race. He earned it, setting fast fractions and turning back some early pressure while winning in a romp. Forbidden Kingdom has one way to go, so the break is extremely important for him, and he left the gate alertly and was able to outsprint HAPPY JACK and ARMAGNAC to the first turn to establish a clear lead. Over a track that was fast but a bit on the dull side, he set splits of 22.66 seconds for the opening quarter and :45.90 for the half, but he appeared to be going well within his comfort zone, and gave no signs of being too headstrong. He’s just fast. He rolled along with a clear lead to the far turn, widened farther on his opposition on that turn, and through the lane was ridden out to the wire by Hernandez. Significant, to me, is that Forbidden Kingdom’s ears were forward the final furlong, as though he was comfortable and waiting for competition. The race was fast early, slow late – the final five-sixteenths took 33.52 seconds – but he ran them off their feet.

DOPPELGANGER, who finished second, saved ground while mid-pack around the first turn, made some progress inside rivals down the backstretch, and continued inside on the far turn while advancing to second, though well behind Forbidden Kingdom. He was brought to the four path coming off the bend while under an aggressive ride, but he never could get within hailing distance of the winner and was eased up in the closing yards when his position was secure. Not a bad try, but he’ll need to come a long ways in the next two months, and he may need to be moved to another trainer if his ownership group has designs on trying to get him to the Derby. He did not earn any points in this race, owing to trainer Bob Baffert currently being banned from the Derby by Churchill Downs. 

Happy Jack, who was third, was sent along from his rail draw but still was out-sprinted to the top by Forbidden Kingdom. He raced in the clear in third, along the inside, around the first turn, then going down the backside lost ground and looked as though he was going to finish well back. But he kept to his task on the far turn while splitting rivals, drifted out a bit at the quarter pole, then drifted in through the lane while racing on his wrong lead. His finishing third is more an indictment of those who wound up behind him than a tribute to his performance.

:: KENTUCKY DERBY 2022: Point standings, prep schedule, news, and more

BEAUTIFUL ART, who was fourth, was significantly agitated in the gate by the antics of neighbor Armagnac at pre-start and reared up, and then he hopped in the air when the gates opened and was off last. He trailed while kept off the rail around the first turn and down the backstretch, passed some weary rivals on the far turn while in the three path, was angled toward the inside for the stretch run, but never got within the same area code as the winner. He was fourth because someone had to be.

CABO SPIRIT, who was fifth, raced mid-pack in the three path outside of Doppelganger around the first turn, raced four wide on the far turn while outside Happy Jack, was floated out in upper stretch, and was ridden sympathetically the rest of the way. He’s had an aggressive campaign and could use a freshening and a return to turf.

Armagnac, who was sixth, was fractious in the gate before the start, bobbled slightly leaving the gate, but was sent along to press the very early pace before being outrun to the turn by Forbidden Kingdom. He raced just behind and outside Forbidden Kingdom around the first turn and down the backstretch, had Forbidden Kingdom start to get away from him midway through the race, had no response on the far turn when engulfed by several rivals, and continued to retreat.

WORSE READ SANCHEZ, who finished last of seven, raced in the clear while slightly off the rail and in front of only Beautiful Art around the first turn. He was well back throughout, drifted out coming off the final bend, was slightly late to change leads, but never was involved at any point while overmatched.

 

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