Forbidden Kingdom Uncatchable In Joe Hernandez

Forbidden Kingdom | Benoit

When a horse has never been outside of the lead at first call in any of his 11 prior races, chances are good that he'll be a contender right from the jump. In this case, despite not having raced over the turf since contesting a five-furlong sprint as a juvenile in Oct. 2021, Forbidden Kingdom (American Pharoah) continued to put that trademark early speed to use and took the field coast-to-coast in the GII Joe Hernandez S.

It's been a slow 2023 for the Richard Mandella trainee with only a pair of starts to his name and none since a weakening fourth in the GII Triple Bend S. May 27. In fact, the chestnut hasn't graced the winner's circle after a race since his victory on the Triple Crown trail in 2022's rendition of the GII San Felipe S.

The wagering public seemed to have their doubts as well, sending Forbidden Kingdom off at 4-1 facing a full field of 12 though notably only one runner who had contested this race in 2022. Started from the chute in a race that was meant to come down the hill, Forbidden Kingdom showed that early turn of foot from the middle of the gate and set right out to control the tempo with pressure to his outside by longshot Dancing Buck (War Dancer). The chestnut was under a tight hold through moderate fractions of :23.99 and :48.19 and, as the top pair swung off the turn together, it appeared for a moment as though Dancing Buck would outsprint his rival home. But Forbidden Kingdom turned back that challenge with a game run along the fence and refused to be headed again, opening up a minor advantage on the line.

“I always thought that he would like the grass but when I ran him as a two year old on it, he didn't do that good,” admitted Mandella. “He didn't know what he was doing back then. We've also been on kind of a losing streak with him a while, so my confidence level was not great. He's always trained like a really good horse and he is a really good horse. He fought an intestinal problem a year ago and it took I'm a while to get over it. I think now we are back in the game.”


Pedigree Note:

A $300,000 Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearling, Forbidden Kingdom is one of four winners for his graded-stakes winning dam and one of 41 stakes winners for Triple Crown hero American Pharoah. Just Louise, who last passed through the auction ring in 2013's FTKNOV sale in foal to Malibu Moon for just $150,000, is a half to MGSW and $550,000 2-year-old purchase Sara Louise (Malibu Moon), herself the dam of GSW Sara Street (Street Sense) and recent 'TDN Rising Star' Nash (Medaglia d'Oro). Juse Louise has an unraced 2-year-old filly by Not This Time and reported a full-sister to Forbidden Kingdom before returning to Not This Time for 2024.

Saturday, Santa Anita Park
JOE HERNANDEZ S.-GII, $203,500, Santa Anita, 12-30, 3yo/up, 6 1/2fT, 1:14.92, gd.
1–FORBIDDEN KINGDOM, 121, c, 4, by American Pharoah
1st Dam: Just Louise (GSW), by Five Star Day
2nd Dam: Kings Lynn, by Mt. Livermore
3rd Dam: Til Forbid, by Temperence Hill
($300,000 Ylg '20 FTKSEL). O-MyRacehorse and Spendthrift
Farm LLC; B-Springhouse Farm (KY); T-Richard E. Mandella;
J-Flavien Prat. $120,000. Lifetime Record: GISP, 12-4-3-2,
$679,500. Click for the free catalogue-style
2–Dancing Buck, 121, g, 5, War Dancer–Frivolous Buck, by
Catienus. O-J and N Stables and Diamond M Stable; B-J & N
Stables LLC (NY); T-Richard E. Dutrow, Jr.. $40,000.
3–Turn On The Jets (Ire), 121, g, 4, Mehmas (Ire)–Chiclet (Ire),
by Dandy Man (Ire). 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE. O-Benowitz
Family Trust, CYBT, Michael Nentwig and Ray Pagano; B-Mr. D.
Byrne (IRE); T-Philip D'Amato. $24,000.
Margins: HF, 1 3/4, NK. Odds: 4.30, 13.50, 6.60.
Also Ran: Daniel's Magic, I'm A Gambler (Ire), Balnikhov (Ire), Lucky Score, Tahoe Sunrise, Johnny Podres, Front Run the Fed, Olympic Runner, Peaceful Waters. Scratched: Lovesick Blues.
Click for the chart and the PPs.
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