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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Voodoo Song, a five-time winner on the Saratoga turf, will look to get back to winning ways in Saturday’s $100,000 Fasig-Tipton Lure, a 1 1/16-mile test for 4-year-olds and up on the inner turf.
Trained by Linda Rice, the 5-year-old English Channel chestnut has enjoyed great success at Saratoga including his first graded score when taking the 2017 Grade 3 Saranac and last year when recording his first Grade 1 win in the Fourstardave Handicap.
“He likes the sharp turns we have here at Saratoga. He’s always run really well on this course,” said Rice. “He’s run well at Belmont too, but obviously he’s run his best races right here.”
Bred in New York by Barry Schwartz’s Stonewall Farm, Voodoo Song has been a model of consistency, posting a 8-2-1 record from 19 starts.
“This horse was bred and raised by Barry. It’s really exciting to have a New York-bred of this caliber,” said Rice.
Last out, Voodoo Song made his seasonal debut in the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple, finishing off-the-board over a yielding turf. He breezed five furlongs on the training turf in a bullet 1:00.80 on July 28 in preparation for the second start of his campaign.
“I feel like we’ve made a lot of progress. He needed that last race,” said Rice. “I was struggling to get him tuned up just in workouts. I feel with the race, and he’s had two good workouts since then, that we’re coming into this race in pretty good shape.”
Voodoo Song has held the lead from the first call in six of his eight wins, and Rice said she expects a similar approach on Saturday.
“I think he’s pace heavy, but oftentimes these horses, as they mature, will learn to sit off and rate better,” said Rice.
Trainer Chad Brown will look to complete another personal turf trifecta at the Spa when he saddles Projected, Sacred Life and Ticonderoga.
On July 19, Brown sent out the only three starters in the Grade 3 Lake George with Regal Glory besting stablemates Blowout and Dogtag. This unique victory came just six days after Sistercharlie captured the Grade 1 Diana over fellow Brown trainees Rushing Fall and Homerique.
Juddmonte Farms’ Projected, a 7-year-old Showcasing gelding, boasts a record of 6-12-2 from 28 starts. His last win came in the 2017 Grade 2 Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup at Laurel Park, and since that score has finished second on five occasions, including two starts back in the Cliff Hanger at Monmouth Park.Jose Ortiz will pilot Projected from post 3.
Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, Wonder Stables and Bethlehem Stables’ Sacred Life will make his North American debut in the Lure. A Group 3-winner in his native France, the 4-year-old Siyoumi colt boasts a record of four wins and three seconds from nine starts.
Irad Ortiz, Jr. has the call from post 5.
Woodford Racing’s Ticonderoga, a 5-year-old Tapit bay, captured the Grade 3 Palm Beach in 2017 to make the grade on the Gulfstream Park turf. Ticonderoga won two of four starts last season, including a victory on the Saratoga turf in August in an optional-claiming event that matched a career-best 100 Beyer Speed Figure. Seventh last out in the Grade 3 Poker after stumbling at the start, Ticonderoga will look to return to winning ways under Hall of Famer Javier Castellano from post 8.
Lucullan, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin for Godolphin, earned a 98 Beyer for a 1 ¼-length score on July 3 in a 1 1/16-mile optional-claiming tilt that came off a 14-month layoff.
The well-bred Lucullan is out of the Seeking the Gold mare Golden Velvet, a multiple graded-stakes winner. His second dam is Caress, a multiple graded-stakes winner on the NYRA circuit for Hall of Fame trainer H. Allen Jerkens.Luis Saez, who has won five stakes this summer at Saratoga, retains the mount from post 2.
Noble Indy (Post 1, John Velazquez), Say the Word (Post 6, Junior Alvarado) and Gidu (Post 9, Manny Franco) complete the field. Control Group, for trainer Rudy Rodriguez, is a main-track only entrant.
The Lure is slated as Race 7 on Saturday’s 11-race card. First post is 1 p.m.
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