Roger Horgan, assistant to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, is not sure why Shadwell Stable decided to ship Qurbaan to the U.S. from Europe, but he is glad the move was made.
“He's a legit horse,” Horgan said of the entrant in Friday's $300,000 Maker's 46 Mile (G1) before the 6-year-old jogged once around a muddy main track Monday morning at Keeneland.
“We got him in the barn June of last year at Saratoga. I am not sure about the decision to send him here. (Shadwell and McLaughlin) had success with the last (offspring of) Speightstown they sent here and were hoping lightning could strike twice.”
Qurbaan has compiled a record of 4-1-1-2 in the U.S. with his most recent effort coming in the Tampa Bay (G3) in which he finished third as the favorite.
“When he came in, the plan was to run in an allowance race, but it didn't fill,” Horgan said. “He was doing so good and they didn't want to wait on another allowance race, so they put him in the (Bernard) Baruch (G2), which he won.”
Qurbaan finished third in last fall's $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) here and closed 2018 with a runner-up finish in the Fort Lauderdale (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
“The ground was a bit soft in the Shadwell, and that is probably not his favorite type of course,” Horgan said. “We tried to get him in the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) but were excluded. In the Fort Lauderdale he couldn't catch the unopposed leader, and he was unlucky in his last start getting caught in traffic.”
In the Maker's 46 Mile, Qurbaan will face Heart to Heart, the defending champion in the race and a two-time runner-up. Qurbaan finished ahead of that rival in their two previous meetings: the Shadwell Turf Mile, in which Heart to Heart was ninth, and the Tampa Bay, with Qurbaan finishing a neck in front of Heart to Heart.
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