Quarter cracks have plagued Spirit of Makena (h, 5, Ghostzapper–Win for M'lou, by Gilded Time) this spring, but they're only a memory after the speedy chestnut captured Saturday's GII Triple Bend S. at Santa Anita. It was his second consecutive graded score following a win in the GIII San Carlos S. in March. MGSW and two-time Breeders' Cup runner-up C Z Rocket (City Zip) and multiple statebred SW Desmond Doss (Grazen) followed him home.
MGSW and one-time Derby horse Forbidden Kingdom (American Pharoah) set the :22.86 early pace while Spirit of Makena was restrained a length behind and to his outside in second. Forbidden Kingdom continued to show the way, switching smoothly to another gear and putting a little daylight between him and his pursuer before the :45.22 half. Spirit of Makena menaced briefly alongside the pacesetter coming off the turn, but promptly put the result to bed with jockey Joe Bravo's encouragement. He tripped the six-furlong timer in 1:09.92 and sauntered home uncontested as Bravo sat chilly late for a 3 1/4-length win.
“He's a nice horse,” said winning trainer George Papaprodromou. “He won the last time doing the same thing kind of. I'm grateful to train a horse like that and I would like to thank the owners for giving me a horse like that. We are looking forward to a nice future with him.”
Had it not been for the head of hard-knocking Holden the Lute (Midnight Lute) last September in Spirit of Makena's second lifetime start, the Triple Bend winner would be undefeated. He got a five-month freshening after that lone loss. The chestnut has been perfect in all four of his starts at seven furlongs or less and came out with guns blazing in 2023–first capturing a Santa Anita optional allowance with a 98 Beyer Speed Figure and then trying and conquering graded company for the first time Mar. 11 in the San Carlos. Papaprodromou indicated he would target the GI Bing Crosby S. at Del Mar in July for the Triple Bend winner.
The brilliant Horse of the Year Ghostzapper, now a 23-year-old Hill 'n' Dale sire, has been represented by 96 black-type winners and 49 graded winners. Amazingly, three of his graded winners–Canadian champion and U.S. MGISW Shaman Ghost, Whiskey Ticket, and Spirit of Makena–are out of Gilded Time mares. The late Gilded Time, a flashy chestnut in the same vein as the Triple Bend winner as well as a champion 2-year-old, has quietly racked up 79 stakes winners out of his daughters, including GISW and current freshman stallion Audible (Into Mischief).
Spirit of Makena is the first stakes performer in three generations of his immediate female family, but he is a second-generation homebred for Bruce Chandler and the last named foal out of his dam. The mare does have an unnamed 3-year-old filly by Merit Man who sold at the recent CTBA Winter Mixed sale to O.J. Jauregui for $5,000.
#6 SPIRIT OF MAKENA ($3.80) makes his move in the stretch and goes on to easily win the Triple Bend Stakes (GII).
The son of Ghostzapper was ridden by Joe Bravo and is trained by George Papaprodromou. Congrats to all the connections!
— TVG (@TVG) May 27, 2023
Saturday, Santa Anita
TRIPLE BEND S.-GII, $201,000, Santa Anita, 5-27, 4yo/up, 7f, 1:23.07, ft.
1–SPIRIT OF MAKENA, 122, h, 5, by Ghostzapper
1st Dam: Win for M'lou, by Gilded Time
2nd Dam: Take the Picture, by Doneraile Court
3rd Dam: I'vegotthatfeeling, by Regal Classic
O/B-Bruce Chandler (KY); T-George Papaprodromou; J-Joe Bravo. $120,000. Lifetime Record: 5-4-1-0, $347,600. Werk Nick Rating: A++. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree or free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–C Z Rocket, 120, g, 9, City Zip–Successful Sarah, by Successful Appeal. ($800,000 2yo '16 OBSOPN). O-Altamira Racing Stable, Madaket Stables LLC, Gary Barber, and Tom Kagele; B-Farm III Enterprises (FL); T-Peter Miller. $40,000.
3–Desmond Doss, 120, h, 7, Grazen–Malley Girl, by Malek (Chi). 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE. O/B-Nick Alexander (CA); T-Steven Miyadi. $24,000.
Margins: 3 1/4, NO, 1 1/4. Odds: 0.90, 5.30, 27.80.
Also Ran: Forbidden Kingdom, Positivity, Midnight Mammoth, Howbeit.
Click for the Equibase.com chart or the TJCIS.com PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.