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

American Pharoah Colt Launches Into Derby Picture

American Pharoah’s Forbidden Kingdom (3c American Pharoah x Just Louise, by Five Star Day) caught the eye with his win in January’s Grade II San Vicente Stakes but on Saturday, racing caught more than just a glimpse of his talent when the colt dominated the Grade II San Felipe Stakes.

A stakes-placed runner on turf as a juvenile, Forbidden Kingdom has raced solely on dirt since that run with a stakes placing and two stakes wins to his name. In the 50-point Road to the Kentucky Derby race, Forbidden Kingdom proved he was the best from the start when sprinting straight to the lead.

The Richard Mandella-trained colt was a few lengths ahead of the field almost from the word go and had seven lengths on them going around the far turn. Jockey Juan Hernandez never had to ask his colt for anywhere near his best, allowing Forbidden Kingdom to coast to a 5 ¾ length win with the third placed horse over 10 lengths behind.

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

Forbidden Kingdom was a $300,000 yearling purchase by racing owners Spendthrift Farm and MyRacehorse and has won three of his five starts for $434,000 in earnings.

The Springhouse Farm-bred is out of Grade III winner Just Louise, whose Grade II winning half-sister Sara Louise is also the dam of Grade II-placed Sara Street. The pair are granddaughters of Grade III winner and multiple Grade I-placed Til Forbid, who has seen her descendants produce 16 stakes performers.

Just Louise is carrying a Tiz The Law foal this year.

American Pharoah has been on a roll in 2022 with all four of his stakes winners winning on dirt, led by Grade I winners Café Pharoah and As Time Goes By.