As unbeaten Saratoga runner Voodoo Song faded from the lead in Monday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Bernarch Baruch Handicap, one heck of a horse race assembled.
They hit the wire three across, with Qurbaan getting up over a fast-closing forge in the middle. Projected was third down on the inside.
The winner and runner-up were both 13-1, the longest shots in a compact field of five on closing day at the Spa.
Kiaran McLaughlin trains Qurbaan, a 5-year-old Shadwell Stable runner who had never started for him, and also hadn’t run since Oct. 10, 2017. Qurbaan’s last start came in Turkey, to boot.
“We’ve had him a couple of months,” McLaughlin said. “He came over and had some time off, but ever since he’s been with us, he’s done everything right. He trains very well.”
McLaughlin said the Kentucky-bred son of Speightstown will stay in the U.S. and could become a force on the turf should he continue improving. The final time under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. was a respectable 1:40 for 1 1/16 miles.
“He has a bright future,” McLaughlin said.
“I’m excited,” Ortiz Jr. added. “Hopefully, we can build on this.”