A stakes race Saturday for male sprinters serves as a table setter for Santa Anita’s trio of Grade 1 Memorial Day events.
Spirit of Makena is the 8-5 morning-line favorite for the Grade 2, $200,000 Triple Bend Stakes. Post time from Santa Anita is 7:44 p.m. EDT, with FanDuel TV showing the seven-furlong sprint for runners aged 4-years-old and up.
The Triple Bend is one of two graded stakes on Saturday’s card in Arcadia, Calif. Two days later, Santa Anita will host the $500,000 Shoemaker Mile (G1), $400,000 Gamely Stakes (G1) and $400,000 Hollywood Gold Cup (G1).
Spirit of Makena enters Saturday’s feature with a 3-for-4 career record. After beating allowance foes at Santa Anita in February, he came back March 11 to take the San Carlos Stakes (G2) by 1 1/2 lengths.
Jockey Joe Bravo will ride the 5-year-old son of Ghostzapper, a late bloomer for trainer George Papaprodromou. Owner-breeder Bruce Chandler campaigns the favorite.
Forbidden Kingdom (5-2) won two local Grade 2 races last year before his Kentucky Derby qualifying hopes ended with a sixth-place Santa Anita Derby (G1) finish. Trained by Richard Mandella, he was second in the San Carlos.
C Z Rocket (3-1), another dual Grade 2 winner, seeks his first graded score since Oaklawn’s 2021 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3). The Peter Miller trainee wheels back off a second-place finish in a May 13 allowance race at Santa Anita.
Midnight Mammoth (6-1) shortens up to sprint distance off a third-place finish April 22 going 1 1/8 miles in the local Californian Stakes (G2). Craig Dollase serves as trainer.
Here is a look at the field for the 2023 Triple Bend Stakes (trainers and jockeys in parentheses) with morning-line odds:
1. Midnight Mammoth (Craig Dollase, Kyle Frey), 6-1
2. Desmond Doss (Steven Miyadi, Umberto Rispoli), 12-1
3. Positivity (Doug O’Neill, Tiago Pereira), 15-1
4. Forbidden Kingdom (Richard Mandella, Juan Hernandez), 5-2
5. Howbeit (George Papaprodromou, Mike Smith), 6-1
6. Spirit of Makena (George Papaprodromou, Joe Bravo), 8-5
7. C Z Rocket (Peter Miller, Ramon Vazquez), 3-1
TimeformUS pace projections show Forbidden Kingdom going out to the early lead under jockey Juan Hernandez. Favorite Spirit of Makena is projected to sit second.
Other Saturday stakes
Here is a look at some of the other stakes races taking place Saturday across the U.S. All post times are EDT.
3 p.m. – $150,000 Obeah Stakes, 3-and-up fillies and mares, 1 1/16 miles, Delaware Park, FanDuel TV
Morning Matcha (8-5), runner-up last September in Parx’s Cotillion Stakes (G1) is favored for trainer Butch Reid in this race that serves as a local prep toward the $500,000 Delaware Handicap (G2) on July 8. Jockey Paco Lopez will get a leg up on the 4-year-old Central Banker filly, winner of Parx’s Unique Bella Stakes on April 24. Riley Mott trains Traverse (5-2), sixth-place finisher April 21 in Keeneland’s Doubledogdare Stakes (G3). Hybrid Eclipse (9-2), who finished third in this race last year, came home seventh April 15 at Laurel Park in the Heavenly Cause Stakes.
4:06 p.m. – $175,000 Soaring Softly Stakes (G3), 3-year-old fillies, seven furlongs (turf), Belmont Park, FS2
Love Appeals (6-5) is off to a 2-for-3 start in her career for trainer Christophe Clement, including an allowance victory April 27 at Aqueduct. Jockey Joel Rosario will be up on the Speightstown filly for her first stakes start. Chad Brown trains Lady Beth (7-2), a debut winner Feb. 5 at Gulfstream Park who returns off a layoff for his second career race. Grade 3 victor American Apple (4-1) was runner-up May 3 at Churchill Downs in the Mamzelle Overnight Stakes.
5:26 p.m. – $225,000 Keertana Stakes, 4-and-up fillies and mares, 1 1/2 miles (turf), Churchill Downs, FS2
Sparkle Blue (7-2), winner of a Grade 3 stakes three starts back, drops to non-graded flight after a sixth-place run May 5 in the local Modesty Stakes (G3). Jockey Vincent Cheminaud rides the 4-year-old Hard Spun filly for trainer Graham Motion. Todd Pletcher trains Sinfiltre (9-2), a Keeneland allowance winner April 16 going this 12-furlong distance. Exit Soul (5-1) ships to Kentucky for trainer Michael McCarthy after a third-place effort April 30 at Santa Anita in the Santa Barbara Stakes.
7:14 p.m. – $100,000 Daytona Stakes (G3), 4-and-up, about 6 1/2 furlongs (turf), Santa Anita, FanDuel TV
Whatmakessammyrun (9-5), winner of the local Eddie D Stakes (G2) last October, runs back over the same downhill course on which he won the Siren Lure Stakes on April 23. Trainer Mark Glatt and jockey Joe Bravo team up with the 5-year-old We Miss Artie gelding. Dan Blacker trains Burnin Turf (5-2), who was third last year in this race and was fourth in the Siren Lure. Fast Buck (5-2) makes his graded bow for trainer Cesar DeAlba off a Santa Anita allowance score May 7.