Voodoo Song, who won his first Grade 1 race by taking Saturday’s $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga, will follow a course that his connections hope gets him to the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3.
What races he uses to get there are still to be determined. The usual stepping-stones – the Grade 1, $800,000 Woodbine Mile on Sept. 15 and the Grade 1, $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland on Oct. 6 – will be considered. But so, too, will the Grade 2, $250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap, held on the Sept. 3 closing-day card at Saratoga. Voodoo Song is 5 for 5 over the Saratoga turf.
“He clearly likes this course,” said trainer Linda Rice, who noted she has already nominated Voodoo Song to the Grade 1 Sword Dancer going 1 1/2 miles here Aug. 25.
Rice said she would like to run Voodoo Song two more times before the Breeders’ Cup.
“I think the horse is better off if he runs once a month versus sitting idle too long, because he’s a hard horse to keep fit in the morning,” Rice said.
Barry Schwartz, the owner and breeder of Voodoo Song, said he hadn’t discussed next steps yet with Rice, but acknowledged the Bernard Baruch “makes some sense” for a couple reasons.
In addition to his affinity for Saratoga’s turf course, Voodoo Song has yet to prove he can ship and win. He ran second in the Grade 3 Commonwealth Derby at Laurel last September and fifth as the favorite in the Hawthorne Derby last October, which was Voodoo Song’s eighth race of the year.
“The ground was just crazy-soft then,” Rice said. “I mean, it was soft here [Saturday], but I’ve never seen anything as soft as Hawthorne that day.”
Voodoo Song, a 4-year-old New York-bred son of English Channel, beat Delta Prince by a neck in the Fourstardave. He earned a career-best 104 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort.
Delta Prince will be pointed to the Woodbine Mile. He won the King Edward Stakes at Woodbine in June.
Trainer Jimmy Jerkens felt the soft turf “told on him late” in the Fourstardave. “It would have been better if it was firmer.”
Meanwhile, trainer Bill Mott said he could not find anything amiss with Yoshida, who finished fifth as the favorite in the Fourstardave.
“Bit of a head-scratcher,” Mott said. “He was not full of run for whatever reason.”
Mott was unsure of future plans for Yoshida, though at one point earlier this meet dirt was mentioned as possible for him.
Inspector Lynley, the three-quarter-length winner of Saturday’s $100,000 Lure Stakes, will be considered for the Bernard Baruch or the Woodbine Mile, trainer Shug McGaughey said Sunday.
Inspector Lynley, who rallied from last under Jose Lezcano, earned a 100 Beyer Speed Figure for the Lure performance.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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