Qurbaan prevailed by a nose in a three-way photo in the $250,000 Bernard Baruch S. on Labor Day at Saratoga, just besting Forge (GB), who was only another nose in front of third-place finisher Projected (GB) in a thrilling edition of the 1 1/16-mile turf event for older males.
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Qurbaan is Speightstown's sixth graded winner this year, and 13th black type winner overall.
Qurbaan, who had been off about 11 months after shipping from France late last year, ran a typical European-style race in his first start state-side. In no hurry early, Qurbaan was about a half-dozen lengths from the front until he began to edge closer mid-way on the final turn.
Three-wide into the stretch, Qurbaan and Projected battled for the lead until Forge came on the scene late. All three hit the wire together, with Qurbaan just getting the nod in a very game effort. The final time was 1:40 flat on the firm turf.
“We were trying to run him in an allowance race that didn't go for a while,” said winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “We didn't have many options but to go into the stakes. He's a stakes horse, obviously. He's won five races all around the world. I was worried right up until the wire, but thankfully we got there.”
As for where Qurbaan might start next, McLaughlin added, “He's run at various distances and obviously with Shadwell (Qurbaan's owner) being the sponsor of the Shadwell Mile [G1, Oct. 6 at Keeneland], we may have to try that next now that we have a horse that can go there.”
Pedigree Notes from the TDN: Flip Flop, a stakes winner in France before selling for 270,000gns at the 2004 Tattersalls December sale, came stateside for a 2005 campaign in which she was second in the GI Yellow Ribbon S. Flip Flop produced a filly by Munnings in 2017--catalogued as hip 925 at next week's Keeneland September Yearling sale--and a colt by Speightstown this year.