10/24/2010 1:02PM

Quality Road puts in final major drill

Barbara D. Livingston
Quality Road, winning the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga, completed his major work for the Breeders' Cup Classic with a Sunday breeze at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Quality Road completed the major part of his preparation for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic by working five furlongs Sunday morning in 1:01.62 over the Belmont Park training track.

Working in company with the Group 1-winning Brazilian-bred turf horse Jeune-Turc, Quality Road, under exercise rider Patti Barry, went in fractions of 13.24 seconds, 25.41, and 37.02, and got his last quarter in 24.60 seconds. He pulled away from his workmate by two lengths at the finish. As he has in his previous three works, Quality Road put in a strong gallop-out, this time going six furlongs in 1:14.48, seven-eighths in 1:28.00, and a mile in 1:42.76.

It was Quality Road’s fifth workout since he won the Woodward on Sept. 4 at Saratoga, the last four being five furlongs or farther followed by a brisk three-furlong gallop-out. Quality Road has yet to win at 1 1/4 miles, the distance of the Classic.

"Based on the way he’s been finishing his breezes and galloping out, I think we’ve got him just where we need to be for that type of race," trainer Todd Pletcher said.

Quality Road, along with stablemate and Ladies' Classic starter Malibu Prayer, was expected to leave Belmont by van on Monday and arrive at Churchill Downs early Wednesday morning.

Pletcher worked several of his other Breeders’ Cup horses on Sunday, including probable Juvenile favorite Uncle Mo, who went four furlongs in 49.89 seconds under regular rider John Velazquez. It was Uncle Mo’s first breeze since he won the Champagne on Oct. 9.

Uncle Mo went in splits of 12.66 seconds and 24.73, and he galloped out five furlongs in 1:02.48 and six furlongs in 1:17.68. A horse trained by Mike Hushion broke off about 100 yards in front of Uncle Mo and initially it looked as though Uncle Mo was going to try and catch that horse. But Velazquez did a good job of not allowing Uncle Mo to do too much, as per instructions.

"I told Johnny I didn’t want to do too much today," Pletcher said. "He’s a fit horse, happy horse; just try to keep him that way. We’ll see how he ships. I might do something a little more with him - perhaps go five-eighths - next week."

Pletcher worked his other Juvenile contender, Stay Thirsty, who went five furlongs in 1:01.25 under Barry. He went in company with a yet-to-be-named 2-year-old half-brother to champion filly Ashado. The two basically went together through fractions of 12.90 seconds, 24.91, and 37.02, with a final quarter of 24.23. Stay Thirsty continued on galloping out six furlongs in 1:14.54 and seven eighths in 1:29.75.

"He’s on a different program, having not run since the Hopeful,’’ Pletcher said of Stay Thirsty.

Bribon worked five furlongs in 1:00.94, getting his final quarter in 24.49 seconds. Bribon was under consideration for  the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, but instead will run in next Saturday’s Bold Ruler at Belmont as a prep for the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on Nov. 27, trainer Todd Pletcher said Monday.

"I think the horse is training as well as he ever has, consistent with the way he has when he’s coming up to a big race," Pletcher said.

Rose Catherine, pointing to the Turf Sprint, worked five furlongs in 1:04.07 over the training track, after going an opening eighth in 14.39 seconds.

Other Breeders’ Cup horses to work Sunday at Belmont were BC Dirt Mile hopefuls Gayego (five furlongs in 1:00.18) and Vineyard Haven (five furlongs in 1:02.18) over the main track; Ladies' Classic contender Persistently (four furlongs in 49.71 seconds) over the training track; and Juvenile Turf starter Air Support (four furlongs in 48.42 seconds) over the main track.