Forbidden Kingdom (American Pharoah) winning the Gr.2 San Felipe at Santa Anita

Group Double for American Pharoah

Triple Crown hero American Pharoah was making headlines in North America on the weekend with a Group double courtesy of exciting 3YO colt Forbidden Kingdom (3c American Pharoah x Just Louise, by Five Star Day) and quality mare As Time Goes By (5m American Pharoah x Take Charge Lady, by Dehere), who became his fourth Group I winner when capturing the Group I Beholder Mile at Sant Anita.

Trained by Richard Mandella, Kentucky Derby hopeful Forbidden Kingdom was fast away and surged straight to the lead where he was never seriously challenged, racing away to win the Group II Santa Anita San Felipe Stakes (1 and 1/16th m) by nearly six lengths.

“I was anxious to see this race and see if he would get two turns. He looked even better,” Mandella said.

“I was a little nervous when I saw the :45 on the board for the first half. He just did what he likes to do. The next step is the [GI Runhappy] Santa Anita Derby next month.”

Winning rider Juan Hernandez was thrilled with the victory.

“It worked out pretty well. Mr. Mandella had the horse ready. He’s really fast. A couple of jumps after we broke, he was in front already,” Hernandez said.

“I let him run because if you fight with him he tries to go faster... I let him have fun. I turned him loose and he never stopped, he kept going the whole race. He proved how good he is today.”

With three wins and two placings from five starts and $434,000 in prizemoney, Forbidden Kingdom was a $300,000 Fasig Tipton Kentucky Select Sale purchase and runs for My Racehorse and Spendthrift Farm.

Now firmly on the Kentucky Derby trail, Forbidden Kingdom is the best of three winners from Group III winner Just Louise.

Later in the day, the Bob Baffert trained As Time Goes By claimed her first Group I victory, something she has promised to do for some time.

A multiple Group winner that finished second in the Group I Beholder Mile last year, As Time Goes By broke through at the elite level with a comfortable two and a quarter length win taking her overall record to seven wins from 14 starts with prizemoney in excess of $950,000.

“She gets better with age,” said Bob Baffert who trained her sire American Pharoah.

“She is such an exciting and classy mare. She never breaks a sweat. I think the longer the better with her.

“These Pharoah horses are fast. It’ s been a great day for Pharoah horses. American Pharoah has meant so much to racing.”

A homebred for the Coolmore partners, As Time Goes By is a half-sister to Champion US 3YO Colt Will Take Charge and Group I winner Take Charge Indy being the last recorded foal from 2013 US Broodmare of the Year Take Charge Lady, a triple Group I winner that is also the grand-dam of multiple Group I winners Take Charge Brandi and Omaha Beach.

American Pharoah has nine yearlings for Karaka Book 1 and 10 for Inglis Easter.