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SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Sean and Dorothy Fitzhenry’s homebred Mr Havercamp returned from a seven-month freshening to the site of his first career loss and fired a fierce effort off of the bench to win Friday’s $150,000 Forbidden Apple Stakes (G3) at Saratoga.
Breaking from post 9 under Junior Alvarado as the second-longest shot on the board (13/1), Mr Havercamp was unable to clear every foe and was forced to run three-wide through the first turn in fifth. Up front, Gidu posted opening fractions of :24.15, :48.04, and 1:12.56 while the defending champion Voodoo Song tracked him the closest.
By the end of the backstretch, Alvarado had moved Mr Havercamp up to third, just behind Voodoo Song, and through the far turn, he had sidled up alongside last year’s winner to sit in a perfect striking position. Straightening for home loaded for bear, Mr Havercamp moved past Gidu for the lead near the 1/8 pole for the lead and began to kick away.
Under a steady drive late, Mr Havercamp held off late rallies from several foes for the 1/2-length win. The Catherine Day Phillips trainee completed the mile-long event over the yielding inner turf course in a final time of 1:37.50.
“I knew that there were two horses with speed and I was sitting right where I wanted to be,” Alvarado said. “By the 1/2-mile pole, I was pretty excited with where I was and where he was traveling. 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.”
Leading the charge from the rear was Hembree, who headed the 2/1 favorite Qurbaan for second. Made You Look necked out March to the Arch for fourth just behind them, while Doctor Mounty did the same to Offering Plan for sixth. Voodoo Song and Gidu both retreated in the stretch run and outkicked only a non-threatening First Premio to complete the order of finish.
Mr Havercamp’s win was his third at the graded level and first away from his Woodbine home, where he won the Play the King Stakes (G2) and the Autumn Stakes (G2) last year. The Ontario-bred 5-year-old gelded son of Court Vision, absent since finishing 13th in the 1 1/8-mile Ft. Lauderdale Stakes (G2) last December, improved his record to 13-8-1-0 with $673,886 earned.
“Junior 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.”
Mr Havercamp returned $29.60 to win, $13.80 to place, and $8.60 to show. Hembree brought back $12.80 to place and $6.50 to show, while Qurbaan paid $3.40 to show.
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