Sean and Dorothy Fitzhenry's homebred Mr Havercamp surprised Saratoga bettors at 13-1 in Friday's Grade 3 Forbidden Apple, taking the lead in mid-stretch and holding off late runs from Hembree and favorite Qurbaan to win by a half-length. It was the 5-year-old Court Vision gelding's first start since December, and he completed a mile over the yielding turf course in 1:37.50. Trained by Catherine Day Phillips, Mr Havercamp was the second winner on the card for jockey Junior Alvarado.
“Junior [Alvarado] gave him a perfect ride,” Day Phillips said. “He got a very good position coming out of the gate. Going into the first turn, I was a little concerned with the mile track on the inside – he'd never been on a tight track like that – but he handled it well for a big horse.”
A loaded field of 10 went postward for the Forbidden Apple, including a pair of Grade 1 winners in Voodoo Song and Qurbaan. As expected, Gidu went for the lead from his rail post position and was flanked by Voodoo Song, the fan-favorite New York-bred making his first start off a seven-month layoff. Mr Havercamp and Made You Look were also forwardly placed early, tracking Gidu's opening fractions of :24.15 and :48.04.
“I just wanted to make sure that I put him in a good spot,” Alvarado said of Mr Havercamp. “I knew that there were two horses with speed, and I was sitting right where I wanted to be. By the half-mile pole, I was pretty excited with where I was and where he was travelling. I knew that I had a lot of horse under me, so I was pretty confident. As soon as we turned for home, he gave me a nice kick and was just all out right there, trying hard.”
Gidu had the lead turning for home, but Mr Havercamp was making up ground quickly and took over in mid-stretch. He'd gotten first run on the leader and though his lead diminished in the final sixteenth of a mile, Mr Havercamp was able to hang on to win by half a length on the wire. Hembree and Qurbaan both closed from well off the pace to fill out the trifecta, while Made You Look, making his first start since colic surgery, finished a respectable fourth.
Bred in Ontario by his owners, Mr Havercamp is a second-generation homebred out of the Medaglia d'Oro mare Tennessee Lamb. He finished fourth in last year's listed edition of the Forbidden Apple at Belmont Park, but went a few places better in 2019 to earn his third graded stakes victory. Overall, the gelding's record stands at eight wins from 13 starts for earnings of over $650,000.
“He runs well fresh,” said Day Phillips. “This was probably a little steeper of a first race than we really wanted, but the Woodbine Mile [Grade 1, $1 million, September 14] is our goal, so we're backing up and this is what brought us this weekend. This race was here and Saratoga is Saratoga – it's great to be here.”
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