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San Felipe Stakes Odds & Preview: Will Doppleganger Avenge Loss to Forbidden Kingdom?

Dave F.

by Dave F. in Horse Racing News

Mar 4, 2022 · 8:12 AM PST

San Felipe Stakes
FILE - John Velazquez rides Medina Spirit across the finish line to win the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., May 1, 2021. A necropsy on 2021 Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit showed no definitive cause of death. The California Horse Racing Board on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, released the results of the examination done after the colt collapsed and died after a workout on Dec. 6 at Santa Anita. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
  • Saturday’s San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita Park is yet another controversial 2022 Kentucky Derby prep race
  • Maligned trainer Bob Baffert has two top contenders, and those horses can not earn Derby qualifying points
  • What is the best betting strategy in the feature event Saturday in Southern California?

For over a decade trainer Bob Baffert has dominated the Triple Crown. Not only has he conditioned the only two horses to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes in the same year since the 1970s, oftentimes he has several of the top contenders.

Long rumored to be operating in grey areas, Baffert’s Derby winner last year, Medina Spirit was stripped of the roses after failing a drug test. His horses are currently banned from Churchill Downs and can not earn Kentucky Derby qualifying points to improve their Kentucky Derby odds.

While Baffert’s lawyers are hard at work, as of now he can not bring any of his stable to Louisville. As has been the case in several other significant Kentucky Derby preps, he has one of the favorites in Saturday’s San Felipe Stakes.

Let’s look at the field, including Baffert’s Doppleganger and Armagnac, and consider where a bet could be worthwhile.

2022 San Felipe Stakes Odds

Horse Odds
Forbidden Kingdom +120
Doppleganger +175
Armagnac +600
Beautiful Art +1200
Cabo Spirit +2000
Happy Jack +2500
Worse Read Sanchez +2000

Odds as of March 4


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UP TO $1,250


The San Felipe is a mile-and-a-sixteenth challenge on Santa Anita’s main course. The purse is $400,000. Temperatures are expected to be in the 50s with dry conditions. Post time is slated for 5:30 pm EST. CNBC will air the event live.

Baffert has won the San Felipe eight times. It seems like horse betting 101 to know Baffert. The race has produced all sorts of stars, including Triple Crown winner Affirmed. Two years ago Authentic, running for Baffert, scored in the San Felipe before winning the Kentucky Derby. Last year Baffert’s Life is Good won the San Felipe, and would have been the Derby favorite if he hadn’t been injured.

Who Doesn’t Like A Rematch?

On January 29 Baffert’s Doppleganger was -110 in the San Vincente Stakes. The $570,000 son of Into Mischief had impressively won his debut, but couldn’t pass +390 Forbidden Kingdom in the lane.

The horse that finished second in that race, Pinehurst, won the Saudi Derby last weekend. Doppleganger is bred to appreciate more distance, and the San Felipe is a two-turn route as opposed to the seven-furlong San Vicente. Doppleganger

Forbidden Kingdom could get a little pace pressure on Saturday, and like Doppleganger has not tried a two-turn race yet. The son of American Pharoah in theory will like the added distance. He has two wins in four starts and lost to another top Baffert runner, Messier in November.

What About Armagnac or Maybe A Longshot?

Medina Spirit was not Baffert’s top choice last year, but injuries and uninspired efforts by several stablemates in preps led to him getting a chance in Louisville. We know how that worked out.

Armagnac doesn’t look like Baffert’s best, but the $210,000 son of Quality Road has raced just twice, and when stretched out to two turns last time out ran well as the favorite in a maiden race.

He was never really threatened in that event, and further improvement on Saturday would make him very viable. As an added benefit for Baffert, at very least Armagnac should pressure Forbidden Kingdom, perhaps setting up Doppleganger to come from behind and win.

While the rest of the field looks considerably weaker, Cabo Spirit has hit the board six times in eight races. He was a distant but clear second to Messier last time out.

Cabo Spirit cost $575,000, and though he probably needs to run faster to win, he at least has successful experience running over a mile. The two favorites have not had done so.

San Felipe Stakes Best Bet

How will this race be run? Forbidden Kingdom is going to be on the front. Is Armagnac fast enough to be right with him? If so Doppleganger could potentially swoop in at the end. There is an argument that Forbidden Kingdom is just a lot quicker than Armagnac, and if that is the case he could be loose on the lead. That’s what happened last time, and our guess is we are in for a repeat.

Pick: Forbidden Kingdom (+120)

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