11/11/2009 12:00AM

Quality Road would rather take highway

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Barbara D. Livingston
Quality Road was scratched from the BC Classic after freaking at the gate.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainer Todd Pletcher has not ruled out running Quality Road in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile here Nov. 28, but there is a lot of work that needs to be done to make that goal a reality.

Last Saturday, Quality Road freaked out at the starting gate of the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic and cut himself, which necessitated that he be scratched. On Monday, Quality Road acted up again when attempts were made to load him onto a plane scheduled to bring horses back to New York. Ultimately, the decision was made not to put him on the plane, and now Quality Road will be vanned back to New York.

"He was a little hesitant to load. They got a little nervous that if they got him on there he might get upset," Pletcher said Wednesday. "I think it probably would have worked out. But they decided to take the cautious route."

Quality Road is scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs on Saturday after leaving Southern California on Thursday night. After a few days at Churchill, Quality Road will then van to Belmont Park.

Bob Duncan, the former starter at the New York Racing Association, will begin doing some gate work with Quality Road next Wednesday at Belmont, Pletcher said. Pletcher also hopes to do some afternoon gate work at Aqueduct with Quality Road.

"We've all got a lot of confidence in Bob Duncan and his ability to work with horses that have had difficulty in this way," said Chris Baker, the farm and racing manager for Ed Evans, owner of Quality Road. "Hopefully, we can take a bad memory and replace it with a good one."

Quality Road's behavior is just the latest in a series of frustrations his connections have had to endure with the talented colt, who set track records at Gulfstream Park winning the Florida Derby and at Saratoga winning the Amsterdam Stakes.

Quality Road had to miss the Triple Crown due to a series of quarter cracks. Following the Amsterdam, Quality Road caught sloppy tracks in the Travers, where he finished third, and Jockey Club Gold Cup, where he was second.

"It's definitely frustrating," Baker said. "When you look at his race record when he's right and he's got a fast track, he's nothing short of brilliant. . . . The horse has never had a chance to show everything he's got. Hopefully, he will have a chance to do that."

Tizway headed to Japan Cup Dirt

Tizway, who finished third behind Summer Bird and Quality Road in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, is still in Saratoga training toward a start in the Japan Cup Dirt on Dec. 6.

Trainer James Bond has gotten permission from the New York Racing Association to train Tizway over the Oklahoma training track. Bond has been galloping Tizway clockwise, or the wrong way, to get Tizway accustomed to the right-handed course of Hanshin in Tokyo.

"I like the way he's going right now," Bond said. "I think this horse needs time between races. Our first selection was the Cigar Mile, our back-up would have been the [Clark] at Churchill. But he got invited, it's $2.9 million, he likes the dirt, he's doing right, and he's got that shipping mentality. He deserves a shot."

Rajiv Maragh will ride Tizway in Japan. Tizway was scheduled to work at Saratoga on Friday and will leave for Japan on Nov. 22.

Tar Heel Mom wires In Her Glory

Tar Heel Mom, under Jose Lezcano, outsprinted Thoroughly Holy to the front, set surprisingly soft fractions, and was able to cruise to a four-length victory in Wednesday's $67,700 In Her Glory Stakes.

Awesome Ashley rallied along the rail under Anna Napravnik to get second by 2 1/4 lengths over Thoroughly Holy. Distorted Passion, Honest to Betsy, and Camara Oculta completed the order of finish. Rock Candy scratched.

The victory was the sixth from 15 starts for Tar Heel Mom, a 4-year-old daughter of Flatter owned by Alex Rankin and trained by Stanley Hough. Tar Heel Mom has now won her last three starts at six furlongs, including the Seton Hall Stakes at Meadowlands on Oct. 24.

On Wednesday, Lezcano never uncorked his stick as Tar Heel Mom jogged through fractions of 23.85 seconds and 47.44. She covered six furlongs in 1:11.21. Tar Heel Mom returned $3.30 as the 3-5 favorite.

Minus-pool alerts for Internet players

Those who wager using the New York Racing Association Rewards Internet platform will receive minus-pool alerts for NYRA races.

The minus-pool alert is triggered when a potential for a minus-pool exists. The alert will appear at the top of the race program page and read as follows:

"Potential minus pool situation, limited to $2.10 payout on favorite possible. Odds continue to change until post time. A minus pool herein is possible but is not definite. These alerts may not be available for late-developing minus pools. This alert is for wagering information purposes only. It should not be interpreted as a wagering recommendation. NYRA neither encourages nor discourages any wager into this pool."

The most common occurrence of a minus-pool comes in the show pool when one or more bettors wager a large sum of money for a supposed sure-thing winner to at least come in third. On Oct. 23 at Belmont, there was the potential for a minus-show pool on Bon Jovi Girl, who finished fifth, and on Oct. 30 at Aqueduct on Crimson Tempest, who also finished fifth with more than $109,000 wagered on her to show.