Qurbaan rides the rail to G2 Bernard Baruch score
by Keith McCalmont
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Shadwell Stable's Qurbaan, under a perfect ride by Joel Rosario, surged strongly up the rail to defend his title in Monday's Grade 2, $250,000 Bernard Baruch at Saratoga Race Course.
Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, the 6-year-old Speightstown chestnut saved all the ground in third position as Dream Friend led the field through splits of 24.81 and 50.98 on the soft inner turf.
Sacred Life, one of three entrants for Saratoga's leading trainer Chad Brown, loomed large in second position as Dream Friend led the field through the turn with stablemates Emaraaty and Olympico waiting to make their run from the back of the pack.
Rosario waited patiently through the turn aboard Qurbaan and when Dream Friend left the rail turning for home, Rosario neatly guided his charge through and surged home to a 2 1/2 length victory in 1:45.20.
Sacred Life completed the exacta 2 1/4-lengths in front of Dream Friend. Rounding out the order of finish were Emaraaty, Olympico and March to the Arch. Noble Indy was scratched.
Rosario said he was happy to sit behind the free-wheeling Dream Friend.
"On paper, it looked like there was only one horse with speed. He was up close and it looked like I could go to the lead, but I just decided to follow the other horse," said Rosario. "I got through inside and everything worked out good. He was fine with the ground. He gave me a strong kick and it looked like he was really happy with it today."
It was the first victory of the campaign for Qurbaan, who had previously finished second this year in the Grade 1 Turf Classic at Churchill Downs in May along with third-place finishes in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay, Grade 1 Maker's 46 Mile and Grade 3 Forbidden Apple.
McLaughlin, who noted Qurbaan is likely to make his next start in the Grade 1 Shadwell Mile on October 5 at Keeneland, said he was pleased to see Qurbaan break through after a string of solid performances.
"It was great for him," said McLaughlin. "He's one of the barn favorite and unlucky so many times to be second, third with little excuses, but today, everything went perfect and Joel [Rosario] rode him great. It was a great ride. He's very good after riding a horse a time or two, I've found out. He rode him last time and he knows the horse. [Qurbaan] can be too keen or too far back sometimes, but he was ridden perfectly."
Bred in Kentucky by Justin Carthy, Qurbaan banked $137,500 in victory while improving his record to 7-3-6 from 22 career starts. He paid $8.20 for a $2 win ticket.
Live racing returns to Belmont Park on Friday with an 8-race card highlighted by the $100,000 Christiecat. First post is 3 p.m.