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Top Flight Probably Next for Qualia

Although trainer Bobby Ribaudo has nominated Marc Keller’s Qualia to both the Grade 3 Fall Highweight at six furlongs on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, and the Grade 2 Top Flight the following day, he indicated the 4-year-old Saarland filly would most likely start in that Friday’s one-mile race for fillies and mares.


“She’s kind of between both those distances,” said Ribaudo, “but we’re thinking the Top Flight. We’ll keep an eye on the other race, in case something develops.”


Qualia began 2010 with three straight allowance victories and then finished a nose behind Rightly So in the Grade 3 Bed o’Roses at Belmont Park. The next phase of her campaign did not go as planned – after a nightmare experience in the Grade 1 Ballerina, in which she was last after having to be reshod before the race and then had her saddle slip at the start, she rebounded to finish fourth, beaten two lengths in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom at Belmont Park but did not make the cut for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.


“We kind of zigged and zagged,” said Ribaudo. “Hopefully, she’ll run well. You worry a bit about her being past [her] peak as she’s been ready for the last three weeks.”


Last Thursday, Ribaudo bade farewell to a horse who has been a fixture in his barn for the past four years – multiple Grade 1 winner Grand Couturier, who will stand at stud in France.


“He’ll be going to Darby Dan Farm for a 30-day quarantine period, and go to France from there,” said Ribaudo of the 7-year-old son of Grand Lodge, who won the 2007 and 2008 editions of the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga Race Course and the 2008 Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational. “He was my first stop every morning for four years at the barn.”




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