Quality Road will have his final tune-up on Tuesday
for Memorial Day’s Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, and trainer Todd Pletcher
could not be happier with the way the 4-year-old Elusive Quality colt is coming
into the race.
“He’s doing great,” said Pletcher of Edward P. Evans’
homebred, who in the Met Mile will be making his first start since kicking
clear to a 12 ¾ length victory in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park
on February 6. “I’m pleased with the break he got and pleased with the way he’s
coming into the race.”
Quality Road is 6-2-1 from nine starts, including a victory
in the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope in January in only other race as a 4-year-old. As a
3-year-old he won the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, the Grade 1 Florida Derby and
the Grade 2 Amsterdam, and finished third to Summer Bird in the Grade 1 Travers
and second to him in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup, both over sloppy tracks.
“He’s done everything you would expect him to do, in
maturing, from age 3 to age 4,” said Pletcher. “But, then, he’s always been
such a good-looking horse.”
Trainer Todd Pletcher confirmed Friday that the filly Devil
May Care, 10th in the Kentucky Derby, would not start in the
Belmont Stakes and instead await the Grade 1, $250,000 Mother Goose Stakes on
Even without a starter in the Belmont,
Pletcher has a cadre of stakes runners waiting in the wings. In addition
to Quality Road’s
expected start in the Met Mile, Pletcher also plans to saddle a pair of
female sprinters in the Grade 2, $150,000 Vagrancy on May 29 in Hour Glass
and Malibu Prayer.
Pletcher added that he is also prepping runners for a number
of stakes on the Belmont Day undercard on Saturday, June 5.
Take the Points, winner of the Grade 1 Jamaica
Handicap at Belmont Park in October, will likely start in the Grade 1, $400,000
Woodford Reserve Manhattan, while two-time graded stakes winner Phola is
expected in the Grade 1 Just A Game, a mile turf race for fillies and mares.
Additionally, Pletcher said that Grade 2 Risen Star winner Discreetly
Mine was being pointed toward the Grade 2, $250,000 Woody Stephens at seven
furlongs. Pletcher could start three in the Grade 2 True North, a
six-furlong race also worth $250,000, with Checklist making his third
start off a layoff and Bribon looking to regroup after a fifth-place
finish in the Grade 3 Westchester at Belmont on April 30. Pletcher added
that Munnings was a possibility for the race following an 11th
place finish in a sloppy edition of the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes on the
Derby Day undercard.