Trainer Todd Pletcher was
delighted to report this morning that Quality
Road exited his victory in Saturday’s Grade 1
Woodward in excellent shape and would next return to Belmont Park
to prepare for the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs on November 6.
“I think there was a lot more in
the tank based on the way he came back; he was hardly even blowing,” said
Pletcher. “He made the lead kind of easily, and coasted home from the eighth
pole – he was prepared to run a lot faster had it been necessary, but when
you’re 4 ¾ lengths clear, it’s hard to ask for a whole lot more.”
The win was Quality Road’s fourth
in five starts this year, and third in a Grade 1 along with the Met Mile and
the Donn Handicap, and puts the Edward P. Evans’ color-bearer solidly back in
the picture for Horse of the Year honors.
“I think winning the Woodward was
an important race for championship honors,” said Pletcher. “Usually, the last
race they run is the most important, and with the last one being the Breeders’
Cup that one is going to carry the most weight of all. But his body of work
this year has been impressive, and that will carry a lot of weight at the end,
In the Classic, Quality Road will be coming off a 63-day
layoff and running a distance at which he has yet to win. In two tries at 1 ¼
miles, Quality Road finished third in the Grade 1 Travers and second in the
Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup behind 3-year-old champion Summer Bird.
“I think if he gets the 1 ¼ miles
he can do it with the time in between,” said Pletcher. “For me statistically,
we’ve always done well with that kind of time frame, so we’d like to come into
the biggest and most important race with what we do best. Our horses tend to
run their best races with that kind of spacing between them.”
As for the distance, Pletcher
pointed out that both defeats came over sloppy racetracks.
“The Jockey Club Gold Cup
was not a bad race,” he said. “I think he gets the 1 ¼ miles, obviously, we’d
just like to do it on a fast surface.”
The trainer also reported that Bribon,
who finished sixth in the Grade 1 Forego, shed his left front frog and would
miss about 10 days of training. Should he not go in the Breeders’ Cup, the
Grade 2 Kelso on October 3 at Belmont
Park and the Grade 1 Hill
‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile at Aqueduct Racetrack on November 27 would be likely
Pletcher added that Checklist,
who finished last in the Forego, appears to have come back all right.