May 26, 2010

Back On a Quality Road

It is hard to believe that Quality Road has only made nine lifetime starts. This is a colt who has been making racing headlines from day one. Let’s take a quick look at a timeline of highlights:

November 29, 2008 - His racing debut results in one of the highest Beyers of any juvenile of 2008, as he easily wins a 6 ½ furlong maiden race at Aqueduct.

February 28, 2009 - After a disappointing 2nd place finish in his three-year-old debut, Quality Road destroys his competition in his first stakes try in the Fountain of Youth.

March 28, 2009 - He breaks the track record while winning the Grade 1 Florida Derby in only his 4th lifetime start, making him the early favorite for the 2009 Kentucky Derby.

April 27, 2009 - It is announced that a second quarter crack will keep Quality Road, the likely favorite for the Run for the Roses, out of the big race at Churchill Downs.

June 15, 2009 - News comes in that owner and breeder Edward P. Evans has transferred Quality Road from trainer Jimmy Jerkens to the barn of Todd Pletcher.

August 3, 2009 - Recovered from his quarter crack problems, and making his first start for his new high profile trainer, Quality Road grabs his 2nd track record with a scintillating win against top sprinters in the Amsterdam Stakes at Saratoga

August 29, 2009 - Despite his lack of racing, Quality Road is the clear favorite in the prestigious Travers. Fractious in the gate, he has a tough trip in the slop and tires late to finish 3rd in the Mid-summer Derby to the new leader of the division, Summer Bird.

October 3, 2009 - Another meeting with Summer Bird again plays out on a sloppy track in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. This time Quality Road is more competitive, but again succumbs late to the soon to be sophomore champion.

November 7, 2009 - Quality Road becomes so traumatized that he will not load into the Breeders’ Cup Classic starting gate in what becomes a scary scene. He suffers minor injuries and suffers mentally as well, needing to be vanned all the way back to Belmont Park from Southern California after refusing to get on the plane.

November 20, 2009 - The racing community is surprised to learn that Quality Road, less than two weeks removed from his BC incident, may run in the Cigar Mile after schooling in the starting gate several days. The plan is eventually scrapped and Quality Road is sent South for the Winter.

Like I said, it is hard to believe that Quality Road has only run nine times, and judging from his last performance, it is clear his story is far from over.

His most recent race was undoubtedly his best race to date and what a performance it was. In the Donn, Quality Road stalked the lead of Past the Point closely, and smoothly moved up to challenge the leader on the turn. The powerful bay colt took over the lead before straightening out for the stretch, and "poof!" the race was over. Quality Road enjoyed a sudden advantage at the top of the lane, and from there put his immense talent on display when asked by rider John Velazquez. His lead extended with every awesome stride, crossing the wire more than a dozen lengths in front in the grade 1 affair. Final time over the Gulfstream strip was 1:47.49, giving Quality Road his third track record in only those nine starts.

What’s next for Quality Road? Tune in to Monday’s Met Mile and find out!


Kimness said...

Great article as usual Brain.
I'll be watching him on Monday.

That gate incident in the BCC was to say the least - very very scary!
He did NOT want to run that day!

Brian Zipse said...

Yes Kim, if not for a heroic move by one of the starters, Junior Hungerford, Quality Road would have been loose, blindfolded, and very upset.

ponyup said...

QR was prepared to run at the BC. He was NOT prepared to be bull whipped and blindfolded, then hit again!

LDP said...

If he is anywhere near his top form and Johny V lets him do his thing, at a mile, expect another record breaking or near that, performance.