09/06/2014 5:37PM

Patience pays off for Quality Rocks in Lassie win

Four Footed Fotos
Quality Rocks rewarded her connections' patience Saturday with a win in the Arlington-Washing Lassie Stakes at Arlington Park.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – The 2-year-old filly Quality Rocks does not make things easy. She dislikes being touched, especially on her hind end. She can become agitated in the starting gate, kicking and making a fuss. And if you fight her foibles, Quality Rocks will fight back.

The filly has required gentle, patient handling, and the trainer Bill Helmbrecht’s operation has given it to her. On Saturday, Quality Rocks rewarded the barn and owner-breeder Destiny Oaks of Ocala with a 3 1/2-length victory in the $100,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie.

The victory made Quality Rocks, an easy debut winner at Presque Isle Downs, 2 for 2 in her career and gave Helmbrecht, who won the 2002 Lassie with huge longshot Moonlight Sonata, his second win in the race.

Prior to the Lassie, Destiny Oaks, whose principles are Bill and Janet Grube, sold a three-quarter interest in Quality Rocks to Morgan Thoroughbreds, according to Helmbrecht’s daughter, Laura Helmbrecht. The filly will move into the barn of trainer Bill Mott.

Quality Rocks arrived here Monday, settled in nicely, and paid a visit to the starting gate Saturday morning. She broke cleanly under Rosemary Homeister, and when Puntsville failed to show speed, Quality Rocks landed a perfect spot pressing a moderate pace, 23.22 seconds and 47.30, set by the even-money favorite Sarah Sis. Homeister asked for run before the quarter-pole and got an instant response, with Quality Rocks ranging alongside Sarah Sis, overtaking her in upper stretch, and running alone to the wire.

“She was first-class to ride,” said Homeister. “It took her two strides to make the lead, and she just took off.”

Quality Rocks ran seven furlongs on Polytrack in 1:24.88. Sarah Sis easily held second, finishing more than three lengths clear of the third-place Happy to Go. Quality Rocks, who paid $10.40 to win, is by Rock Hard Ten and out of the Elusive Quality mare Elusive Virgin.