Once 3-5 favorite and Saratoga specialist Voodoo Song lost his mojo in upper stretch, Monday’s $243,000 Bernard Baruch H. (G2) turned into a free-for-all, and Shadwell Stable’s Qurbaan came out on top at odds of 13-1. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee was making his American debut off an 11-month layoff, but showed no trace of any cobwebs when denying the Juddmonte pair of Forge and Projected in a three-way photo.
As expected, Voodoo Song set up shop on the front end, and the classy controlling speed had things all his own way through fractions of :24.13, :47.89, and 1:11.36 on the firm Mellon course. Hitherto unbeaten on the Saratoga turf, he’s historically posted faster splits, including in the August 11 Fourstardave (G1). Instead of giving his rivals the slip turning for home, the favorite let them get closer, until he came up empty.
Projected, second in the early going, was on the premises to take advantage down the lane. But by that point, Qurbaan was reaching top gear for meet-leading rider Irad Ortiz Jr. Meanwhile, Forge was finding the seam between them to make it three abreast approaching the wire. Qurbaan just got his whisker down ahead of Forge, with Projected another nose away in third.
The trifecta had two lengths to spare over Inspector Lynley, last of the quintet nearly all the way until finally overtaking the subpar Voodoo Song by a half-length. Synchrony opted to run Saturday at Monmouth instead – where he captured the Red Bank (G3) – and was accordingly scratched.
By negotiating 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.00, Qurbaan paid $28.00 to win and boosted his personal bankroll to $313,020 from a 14-6-1-2 line. The five-year-old son of Speightstown began his career in France under Francois Rohaut, but proved more effective on synthetic than turf. Indeed, all five of Qurbaan’s prior victories came on all-weather, most notably his stakes scores in the 2016 Prix Luthier (beating the grand old campaigner Sovereign Debt) and 2017 Prix Saonois. He placed in three turf stakes, including last summer’s Grand Prix de Vichy (G3), and trailed the five-horse field in his French finale in the October 10 Prix Andre Baboin – Grand Prix de Provinces (G3).
Qurbaan was bred by Justin Carthy in Kentucky and purchased by Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell Estate Co. for $300,000 as a Keeneland November weanling. His dam, the Zieten mare Flip Flop, was herself a French stakes winner who went on to place second in the 2005 Yellow Ribbon (G1) (to Megahertz) and third in the 2006 Wilshire (G3).
From the family of such Japanese stars as Bubble Gum Fellow, Deep Brillante, Shonan Peintre, and That’s the Plenty, Qurbaan also descends from the same female line as French classic-placed sire Candy Stripes. His fourth dam, Bubble Company, is a full sister to Sangue.