Doppelganger, Pinehurst lead Baffert trio in San Vicente

Winning the rail like a seasoned pro in his first start, doppelganger retains the services of Flavien Prat as he heads a field of five sophomores going seven furlongs into Saturday’s second grade, $200,000 Inset San Vicente and Santa Anita.

One of three Bob Baffert interns, Doppelganger, a colt by Into Mischief, appears to be heading for the Kentucky Derby Trail in what will be the 80th running of the San Vicente.

Baffert’s Pinehurst, winner of the Del Mar Futurity (G1) on his second start, will no doubt be vying for Doppelganger’s favor as he narrows the distance after finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Baffert will also send McLaren Vale, who initially broke his virginity with John Velazquez and will be driven by Abel Cedillo on Saturday.

Richard Mandella’s Forbidden Kingdom, second to highly regarded Messier in a Class 3 stakes Nov. 14, has plenty of early speed and treasures a big chance with Juan Hernandez back on board.

A $570,000 yearling purchase, Doppelganger, who comes out of the Quiet American mare Twice the Lady, was shaken well in his Dec. 11 debut at Los Alamitos, but was in hand with Prat as he went into battle and responded with a impressive stretch kick when called up to win with 3 1/2 lengths going six furlongs. Owned by SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables et al, Doppelganger earned an 80 Beyer Speed ​​Figure and appears to have some future.

Pinehurst, a first-time winner to win five furlongs as the 8-5 favorite on August 1, trailed 4-1 in the Del Mar Futurity, winning with ease by 4 1/2 lengths. With regular rider Mike Smith committed to riding eventual winner Corniche in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, John Velazquez took over. Though Pinehurst was alert to the pace, he fatigued through the track to be beaten 8 1/2 lengths at 1 1/16 miles.

A $385,000 Keeneland September Yearling, Pinehurst, who is owned by SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables et al, is easily the biggest money earner in the field at $272,000 and will be reunited with Smith for his fourth start.

An impressive first-out maiden winner who wins 5 1/2 furlongs on August 21 at Del Mar, Forbidden Kingdom, a $300,000 purchase yearling who is 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, transitioned to five furlongs on grass in the unrated Speakeasy Stakes here on October 1 and came third, beating 3 1/4 lengths as the 9-5 favourite.

He was then beaten second, 3 1/2 lengths on unpaved seven furlongs by Baffert’s Messier in the Bob Hope Stakes (G3) Nov. 14, Forbidden Kingdom will also make its fourth start on Saturday. Forbidden Kingdom is owned by MyRacehorse and Spendthrift Farm and is out of the Five Star Day mare Just Louise.

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