Equibase Analysis: Positivity Capable Of Upset In Triple Bend - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Equibase Analysis: Positivity Capable Of Upset In Triple Bend

Spirit of Makena and jockey Joe Bravo win the G3 San Carlos

The $200,000, Grade 2 Triple Bend Stakes has been run since 1979 and some very good sprinters have won the race over its 43 year run. Seven line up for this year's edition on Saturday at Santa Anita Park, including 9-year-old C Z Rocket, a multiple graded stakes winner who has banked over $2 million but who has not won a stakes race in more than two years.

Spirit of Makena won the G3 San Carlos Stakes when last seen in March and if not for a head defeat last summer might be bringing a perfect four-for-four career record into this race. Howbeit won the G2 Santa Anita Sprint Championship last fall over the track but has finished fourth in four straight races since then.

Forbidden Kingdom was considered a top 3-year-old in 2022 following wins in the G2 San Vicente Stakes and G2 San Felipe Stakes but after a poor effort in last year's G1 Santa Anita Derby cut back to sprinting, most recently finishing second behind Spirit of Makena in the San Carlos.

Desmond Doss won the Bertrando Stakes, for California bred horses only, in 2021 and 2022 and hopes to improve off a fourth place effort three weeks ago when returning from eight months off. Positivity has yet to win a stakes race in 17 starts but did miss by a nose in the Cary Grant Stakes (for California bred horses) in 2021 and he is making his second start following more than a year away from the races.

Midnight Mammoth rounds out the field, cutting back in distance from nine to seven furlongs following a third place effort in the G2 Californian Stakes five weeks ago.

Top contenders:

Positivity appears very capable of posting the upset in this race and he will likely be ignored as a contender by many bettors because he has not won a race since October of 2021. That should not deter us from wagering on this horse who is likely to improve markedly in his second race following 13 months away from the track. Positivity began his career winning twice, the first of the two at Santa Anita nearly three years ago this week. He then won the Graduation Stakes in career start number two and then entered the Golden State Juvenile Stakes (at the seven furlong distance of the Triple Bend Stakes) in the third race of his career, finishing second, before stretching out to a mile and one-sixteenth and running poorly (sixth) in the Los Alamitos Futurity. Following four poor efforts, three of them routes, Positivity returned to sprinting and to seven furlongs and won decisively by five lengths in the summer of 2021 earning a then career-best 104 ™ Equibase® Speed Figure. Two races later he finished second in the California Cup Sprint Stakes with a 105 figure. Positivity was then sent to Dubai in the winter of 2022 where he did not run well in three races. Returned to the states and given 13 months off from March of 2022 until April 22 of this year, Positivity finished third in the Kona Gold Stakes with a 99 figure he can certainly improve upon, particularly as he is returning to his favorite distance of seven furlongs. Additionally, with Forbidden Kingdom being an absolute need-the-lead type and with Midnight Mammoth having the same style and drawing the rail, Positivity should have a fast pace to close into and could get up in time to win this year's Triple Bend Stakes.

Spirit of Makena might be four-for-four if not for a defeat by a head last summer in the second start of his career. That also happened to be his only try around two turns. He has a perfect record in one-turn races, including a win in the San Carlos Stakes in March at Santa Anita. He won one month earlier in his 2023 debut, earning a career-best 113 ™ figure which is the best earned by any horse in this field in the past two years. With a sharp five furlong morning drill coming into the race and the ability to stalk the pacesetters in third or second in the early stages, Spirit of Makena should be a tough competitor in this race.

C Z Rocket had won five stakes races, three of them graded stakes, up to the time he entered the gate in the Breeders' Cup Sprint last November but he was disregarded by many bettors at 30 to 1 odds as he had only an allowance level win in 2022. The old veteran proved many wrong as he rallied from fifth to make the lead with an eighth of a mile to go before finishing second, and clearly so, behind Elite Power. Rested four months, C Z Rocket finished second in February in a stakes level allowance race then traveled to Dubai and finished eighth in the Dubai Golden Shaheen. Back in the states for his next start just two weeks ago, C Z Rocket perked up for a second place finish with the same 99 figure Positivity earned in his only start this year. With that nice effort as a foundation and having earned 107 and 109 figures last year in his two best efforts, including when second in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, C Z Rocket can't be ruled out as a contender in this field.

Honorable mention goes to Forbidden Kingdom, who is likely to be one of the top betting choices based on his second place effort in the Malibu Stakes in December at the distance of the Triple Bend, and his runner-up effort behind Spirit of Makena in the San Carlos Stakes when last seen in March, in which Forbidden Kingdom earned a 100 ™ figure which is just on par with many others and not dominant among this field if repeated. Forbidden Kingdom is a need-the-lead type who has been in front after a quarter mile in every one of his 10 career starts, but who has only won three of those, the last of which was in March of 2022. Particularly in his last three races Forbidden Kingdom ran evenly or lost ground in the last eighth of a mile, which shows he is susceptible to being passed late in this race as well.

The rest of the field, with their best representative ™ Equibase® Speed Figures, is Desmond Doss (106), Howbeit (106) and Midnight Mammoth (105).

Win Contenders:

Spirit of Makena
C Z Rocket

Note: For any exacta tickets played, consider Forbidden Kingdom for the second (runner-up) position.

Triple Bend Stakes – Grade 2
Race 8 at Santa Anita
Saturday, May 27 – Post Time 7:30 PM E.T.
Seven Furlongs
Four Year Olds and Upward
Purse: $200,000

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