Santa Anita hosted the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes last Saturday, with two entries from the Bob Baffert barn facing off against Richard Mandella’s favored colt Forbidden Kingdom. Baffert’s attempt at a one-two punch turned out to be nothing more than the embattled trainer swatting at Forbidden’s flies.
Jockey Juan Hernandez immediately hustled Forbidden Kingdom to the lead. He was pressured briefly by Baffert’s Armagnac, who failed to fulfill his role as Baffert’s rabbit. Forbidden Kingdom set Big League fractions of :45.88 and 1:10.45, essentially running his rivals off their feet on his way to an easy victory.
Bob Baffert’s other entrant, Doppelganger, finished a distant second. The San Felipe results show that Baffert’s only shot left at winning any remaining Kentucky Derby prep races rests with Messier.
Forbidden Kingdom’s performance launched him into the role of pre-Derby favorite. Bettors might want to hold off from jumping on his bandwagon, though. His final time was the slowest in this race since 1994.
To solidify his Kentucky Derby resume, Forbidden Kingdom needs to ration his speed a little better next time out in the Santa Anita Derby. With just a few exceptions in the past 30 years, the Kentucky Derby hasn’t been kind to horses with a need-to-lead running style.
For more insight into Kentucky Derby contenders check out our book The Lazy Bettor’s Guide to the Kentucky Derby. You can buy it as part of a subscription to the Racetrack Super Scout or purchase it separately from the Lazy Bettor Guides store.