George Papaprodromou's lightly raced 5-year-old Spirit of Makena, a head shy of being unbeaten in four starts, leads a field of seven older horses going seven furlongs in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Triple Bend Stakes at Santa Anita.
Unbeaten in two starts at Santa Anita this year, a six-furlong allowance on Feb. 11 and most recently, the San Carlos Stakes (G3) 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 2 and 3, he was a first-out maiden winner going 6 1/2 furlongs on Aug. 5 at Del Mar and then was second, beaten a head in a first-condition allowance going one mile Sept. 11.
Thus unbeaten sprinting, Spirit of Makena has banked $227,600.
C Z Rocket, a troubled second to world-class sprinter Dr. Schivel in a six-furlong classified allowance at Santa Anita on May 13, returns on two weeks notice and with a star-studded resume that includes three graded-stakes wins and earnings of $2,008,441 The 9-year-old gelding trained by Peter Miller 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 is 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 San Vicente Stakes (G2) on Jan. 29 and San Felipe Stakes (G2) 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 San Carlos (G3), a race in which he finished second by 1 1/2 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. With an overall mark of 10: 3-3-2, he has earnings of $547,500.