Quality Road Brilliant in Met Mile

In a brilliant display of speed and talent, Quality Road staked his claim as the top horse in the country as he rocketed to a 1 ½-length victory over Musket Man Monday afternoon in the 117th running of the Grade 1, $500,000 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park.


Under John Velazquez and top weight of 124 pounds, the 4-year-old Elusive Quality colt dueled with longshot Le Grand Cru through fractions of 22.55 and 45.19, and then shook off a challenge from Warrior’s Reward nearing the quarter-pole to open up by two lengths at the top of the stretch. Rounding the turn, Musket Man picked off five rivals as he barreled into second but through the stretch could not gain on Quality Road, who flashed under the wire in 1:33.11 for the mile.


Quality Road’s time tied for the second-fastest ever Met Mile behind Honour and Glory, who set the stakes record of 1:32.81 in 1996.  In 1997, Langfuhr won in 1:33.11, while in 1982, before the advent of hundredths, Conquistador Cielo won in 1:33 flat.


The victory was the third straight for the Edward P. Evans homebred, who was making his first start since his track record victory of 1:47.49 in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park on March 13.


“He’s such a versatile horse,” said trainer Todd Pletcher, who earned his first victory in the Met Mile. “He set a track record at Saratoga at 6 ½ furlongs and two track records at Gulfstream at 1 1/8th miles, and he showed today he’s a brilliant miler. He took the race to everyone and kept on.”


Sent off as the 1-4 favorite in front of a Memorial Day crowd 9,386 strong, Quality Road returned $2.50 as he earned $300,000 for Evans. His record now stands at 6-2-1 from nine starts, with earnings of $1,632,830.


“Watching him come back and seeing how he hardly took a deep breath, it’s unbelievable how talented he is, especially when you consider he was spotting the runner-up seven pounds and coming off a four-month layoff,” said Pletcher. “John said he kind of spanked him one time, to give him a friendly reminder to keep to the task to the finish line, but it seemed like he had something left and galloped out really, really well.”


Musket Man, no worse than third in all 12 of his lifetime starts, finished 1 ½ lengths in front of Tizway, who in turn was followed by Convocation, Le Grand Cru, Warrior’s Reward, Kensei, and You and I Forever.


 “I had an absolutely great trip, my horse settled great and made a huge run,” said Ramon Dominguez, aboard the runner-up. “I got a little excited turning for home, but of course the winner didn’t really come back at all. I’m very proud of my horse. He ran hard, and he tried hard every step of the way. He ran a winning race, but he just happened to run into a monster today.”

As a 3-year-old, Quality Road was an early favorite for the Kentucky Derby after his 1:47.72 victory in the Grade 1 Florida Derby, but was sidelined by foot problems. In his first start back, he set a record of 1:13.74 for 6 ½ furlongs at Saratoga in the Grade 2 Amsterdam, then finished third in the Grade 1 Travers and second in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup, beaten both times by eventual 3-Year-Old Champion Male Summer Bird. In what was to have been his final start of the year, he was scratched from the Breeders’ Cup Classic after acting up at the gate.


With the 2010 Classic firmly in mind for Quality Road, Pletcher has penciled in the Grade 1 Whitney on August 7 and the Grade 1 Woodward on September 4, both at Saratoga, but said he might consider starting the colt next month.


“We’ll see how he comes out of this,” said Pletcher. “There might be a race between now and the Whitney or not. We could take a look at the Suburban [Grade 2, July 3, Belmont Park], but you want to make sure he’s still peaking in November, too, so you want to be careful how many times you take him over there. But my first impression was that this was not a taxing race.”





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Older Comments about Quality Road Brilliant in Met Mile...

"setting multiple track and stakes records (instead of none) and beating horses at 8 different tracks is a more worthy record than 16 in a row against Grade III competition" . You Sir are an Idiot.
WRITING YOUR OPINION IN CAPITAL LETTERS DOES NOT MAKE IT A FACT. Naming the "Best Horse" always has been, and always will be, an OPINION, not a FACT. In my opinion, beating the best males in the world three times (instead of once), setting multiple track and stakes records (instead of none) and beating horses at 8 different tracks is a more worthy record than 16 in a row against Grade III competition.
Zenyatta had her workout at Oaklawn when she won the Apple Blossom(yes, workout)--We all know she can handle dirt surfaces--The owners are trying to keep her in shape winning here on synthetic tracks. She will probably run at Del Mar in her next race (by the way, she does not like that track)---they will ship her east for a prep race sometime in September to Churchill Downs---and then she will face anyone that shows up at the Breeders Cup Classic. Then after that race we will decide who is the best horse. Remeber horse racing is not about braking records, its about winning races and Zenyatta has never lost-----I repeat ZENYATTA IS THE BEST HORSE UNTIL PROVEN OTHERWISE
Quality Road has broken three track records. Zenyatta hasn't broken any - please correct me if I'm wrong. Not taking anything away from her, she's a phenomenal race mare. I don't remember what her Beyers were for any of her races. As far as the BC and Quality Road, take away the bull whips and the blind folds, let him stand for a moment before loading, and it looks like he does just fine. He seems to have a gate crew problem, not a loading problem.
Versatile 6-time Graded winner Quality Road has won at distances ranging from 6.5f to a mile and an eighth. He beat five Graded winners in the Met Mile. If he runs like he did in the Donn then Zenyatta would hard a hard time catching him. Ten furlongs could swing the pendulum in Zenyatta's favor in the BC Classic. For the record, Quality Road has beaten multiple proven Graded sprinters/routers including but not limited to Capt. Candyman Can, This Ones For Phil, Dunkirk, Custom For Carlos, Charitable Man, Warrior's Reward, Kensei, Macho Again, Asiatic Boy, Dry Martini, You And I Forever, Congressional Page, Harlem Rocker, Mambo Meister, and Musket Man. Zenyatta beat a solid international cast in the Synthetic BC Classic, and she hardly faced monsters in the majority of her other wins. I would like to see Rachel get back on the beam, and maybe Blame enters the conversation in the near future. Lookin At Lucky officially turned 3 at the end of May and should continue to progress. As for the beating nobody arguments, Zenyatta and Quality Road can only beat the horses that line up against them. 'Road has run in five Grade 1s in his 10-race career. The best horses available signed on and he certainly is not ducking anybody. Also, it is not fair to compare competition. Zenyatta always routes and mostly runs on synthetic. Quality Road is a conventional dirt specialist with only four two-turn races under his belt...apples and oranges!
QR is the best older male right now. Hopefully he will stay healthy and he and Z will meet at Churchill. I really hope after the Vanity that Z travels more or at least she goes to the Hollywood Gold Cup and then puts in some frequent flyer miles. She's only facing 3 in the Vanity. I kind of understand her running in the Vainty because it's Zenyatta bobble head day :o) but was kind of hoping she would just show up for the SF.
podduenas - That's my exact point. I can't name a better active male horse than the ones she beat in the BC because it's such a pathetic crop of older horses at the moment. She beat nobodies in the BC. Anytime a mare and a turf specialist finish 1-2 in the BC Classic, it proves that the crop of older male dirt specialists is poor. QR will reverse that trend for this year when he scares Zeny out of the BC Classic and he wins it in a cakewalk.
Well, he beat me on Monday and as my wife can attest, I am hardly worth mentioning! Seriously, you are right Zenyatta wins the BC Classic and Quality Road goes home with his tail tucked between his legs. It is certainly safe to say they are the top two horses in the country right now until another horse emerges from the pack. Don't see one right now.
(OOPS--hit the wrong button)--Please name a better horse than the ones she beat at the BC?---Ill make it easy for you---NONE!!!!---Again, until proven otherwise Zenyatta is the best horse in the country-----Let me ask you guys a question WHO HAS QUALITY ROAD BEATEN IN HIS CAREER THAT IS WORTH MENTIONING?
WHAT???---a sorry bunch of males?--what horses are better than the ones she beat in the
Zeny is a great mare, no doubt. But, she beat a sorry bunch of males in the BC Classic last year. QR would be too much for her and her owners won't risk meeting QR in the 2010 BC Classic. She'll be in the BC Ladies Classic this year.
HISTORICALLY, a female has to be much much better than their male counterpart to latch onto, and retain numero uno....This sport is dominated by male statistics and has been since the time of Wetherby's first stud book...QR is number one in the interim, just watch.
Horse of the Year candidate Quality Road is a clear threat to Zenyatta. The Met Mile winner has earned a BSF or 110 or better on six occasions, including a 114 in the Met Mile and a 121 in the Donn. Deadly combination of speed and stamina.
I am sorry but he is not the top horse in the coutry----he did not want to run in the Breeders Cup Classic and untill he beats ZENYATTA he is no better than little rachel--I will put my money on GIO PONTI before qulity road----ZENYATTA until proven otherwise!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Most impressive was, after those fractions, his kicking it into gear again a little past the 1/16th pole...Champions do that

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