San Carlos Duo Meet Again in Triple Bend
A plethora of California-bred stakes are sandwiched between days of graded action at Santa Anita over Memorial Day weekend. Connections of four Cal-bred sprinters nominated their runners to the $200,000 Triple Bend Stakes (G2) at seven furlongs May 27 and the $100,000 Thor’s Echo Stakes at six furlongs May 28 for Cal-breds and California-sired runners.
Cal-breds Desmond Doss and Positivity are entered in the Triple Bend. Two-time Kona Gold Stakes (G3) winner Brickyard Ride , nominated to both the Thor’s Echo and $100,000 Crystal Water Stakes May 28 at a mile on the turf, will bypass the race, as will Sunrise Journey . Positivity finished third to Brickyard Ride in the Kona Gold, while the other Triple Bend contenders took different paths.
Spirit of Makena and Forbidden Kingdom come into the Triple Bend off a one-two finish in the March 11 San Carlos Stakes (G3) at the same distance. Spirit of Makena, trained by George Papaprodromou, was making his stakes debut in only his fourth start. Forbidden Kingdom, trained by Richard Mandella, has a deeper resume, having won the 2022 San Vicente Stakes (G2) and San Felipe Stakes (G2).
Joe Bravo, who rode Spirit of Makena in the San Carlos, returns from post 6. Papaprodromou admitted that the San Carlos was a big step up.
“Obviously, it was a tough spot, but we gave it a shot,” Papaprodromou said after the race. “He ran huge and what can I say? He’s a nice horse.”
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Papaprodromou also trains Howbeit (Mike Smith, post 5), a $100,000 claim April 7. Howbeit, gelded since the claim, finished fourth in the San Carlos and won last year’s Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G2).
Forbidden Kingdom will have the services of Santa Anita leading rider Juan Hernandez from post 4. The colt also finished second to Taiba in the Dec. 26 Malibu Stakes (G1) at seven furlongs.
Positivity, trained by Doug O’Neill and to be ridden by Tiago Pereira from post 3, started three times in Dubai earlier this year, with one third, prior to the Kona Gold. Desmond Doss has three consecutive losses, but previously won back-to-back Cal-bred stakes. Umberto Rispoli will ride for trainer Steve Miyadi from post 2.
C Z Rocket , conditioned by Peter Miller and under Ramon Vazquez from post 7, has by far the most earnings, with more than $2 million. Though he hasn’t won since last July, the multiple graded winner twice finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). C Z Rocket most recently finished second to 2022 Breeders’ Cup Sprint second Dr. Schivel in a six-furlong allowance race.
Midnight Mammoth , a $50,000 claim March 3, will have Kyle Frey aboard from the rail for trainer Craig Dollase. The 4-year-old finished third in the April 22 Californian Stakes (G2) at 1 1/8 miles.
Entries: Triple Bend S. (G2)
Santa Anita Park, Saturday, May 27, 2023, Race 8
Grade II7fDirt $200,0004 yo’s & up4:30 PM (local)