Mubtaahij, (Irad Oritz Jr), racing from the widest of draws in a quality nine-horse field, failed narrowly in Saturday’s Gr1 Woodward at Saratoga.
Outsider Shaman Ghost (Javier Castellano) claimed the win in a dramatic four-horse photo finish and beat Mubtaahij by a head in the$600,000 contest.
Dual Grade 1 winner Frosted, one of the highest-rated horses in the world and favoured at 2-5, was all-out at the end but finished only third by a head.
Shaman Ghost picked up his first Gr1 win.
The 4-year-old son of Ghostzapper took the Gr2 Brooklyn Invitational Stakes in June at Belmont Park, but came down with an illness and was a flat fifth on July 9 in the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap, his start before the Woodward.
“The last race was a little disappointing,” winning trainer Jimmy Jerkens said. “After the Brooklyn, he came down with a little bit of a nagging cough. It took him a while to get over it. It looked like he was training good up to it, and then was a little flat in the Suburban. The rail was pretty deep that day and he was stuck on it all the way around. I think a combination of the two, he got beat six lengths.
Kiaran McLaughlin, who trains Frosted and Mubtaahij, thought the way the race unfolded cost his powerful grey. He would not be drawn on plans for Frosted, who also has the option of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at North America’s premier meeting where California Chrome heads the betting for the main race at around 6-4 with British bookmakers.
Next up for Shaman Ghost is the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont on October 8 where Mubtaahij could reoppose before he returns tp Dubai for the 2017 Dubai Racing Carnival.