Qurbaan‘s U.S. campaign got off on the right foot last summer with an upset victory in the Bernard Baruch (G2) at Saratoga. Since then, however, the Shadwell Stable-owned horse has run second or third five times, followed most recently with a sub-par eighth in the 1 1/4-mile Manhattan (G1).
Perhaps a return to the turf at ‘The Spa’ will perk up the six-year-old Kiaran McLaughlin trainee, who faces nine others in Friday’s $150,000 Forbidden Apple (G3) over one mile.
A close second to division leader Bricks and Mortar two back in the Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) when adding blinkers, Qurbaan’s early foot was more pronounced in the Manhattan when the son of Speightstown hit the front much earlier than usual, leaving with little gas left in the tank in deep stretch. The blinkers will be off Qurbaan for the Forbidden Apple.
Another that should be thrilled with the opening of the meet at Saratoga Springs is Voodoo Song, who won five straight over the local turf courses before weakening to fifth as the 3-5 favorite in last year’s Bernard Baruch. Among his victories last season were the Forbidden Apple, contested at Belmont, and the Fourstardave H. (G1), but the son of English Channel enters without a run since October.
“I was pleased with his work [Sunday],” trainer Linda Rice said, referring to a five-furlong breeze in 1:00 4/5. “We have been trying to have him ready for this race but was concerned because he was a little heavy, but his work was very encouraging.”
Multiple graded winner Made You Look returns from a layoff approaching a year as he was last seen under colors finishing fourth to Voodoo Song in the Fourstardave. Not seen since December is multiple Grade 2 winner Mr Havercamp, runner-up in the Woodbine Mile (G1) last fall.
More active of late has been March to the Arch, 10-1 upsetter of the Wise Dan (G2) at Churchill Downs, and Grade 2 victor Hembree, who missed in last month’s Poker (G3) by a nose. The New York-bred Offering Plan and Belmont Stakes Day allowance winner Gidu are other potential players in a talented field.