11/11/2017 5:27PM

Spring Quality wins close finish in Red Smith Stakes

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Chelsea Durand/NYRA
Spring Quality, ridden by Edgar Prado, wins the Red Smith Stakes by half a length.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Longshot Memories of Peter was allowed to set a leisurely pace in the $200,000 Red Smith Stakes at Aqueduct on Saturday. He ended up a close fifth, but his actions set the table nicely for his closest pursuers to fill three of the top four finishing positions.

Memories of Peter coasted through fractions of 26.01, 51.08, 1:16.95 and 1:42.47 over firm turf in the 1 3/8-mile Red Smith. He was stalked by Money Multiplier, along the inside, and Spring Quality. It was a length or two back to Get Jets in fourth.

In the stretch, 8-5 favorite Money Multiplier lodged his bid inside Memories of Peter, while Spring Quality went outside. Get Jets went further out still.

At the finish, Spring Quality was up to win by a half-length over Call Provision, the only horse in the race to close significant ground. It was another half-length back to third-place Get Jets, who defeated Money Multiplier by a nose. It was another nose back to 50-1 Memories of Peter in fifth, who was beaten one length for everything.

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Spring Quality, a Pennsylvania homebred by Quality Road, races for George Strawbridge Jr. He is trained by Graham Motion and was ridden by Hall of Fame rider Edgar Prado.

Spring Quality paid $27.20 as the sixth choice in the 10-horse field. He completed the course 2:17.72 following 1 1/4 miles in 2:06.60, meaning the final furlong went in 11.12 seconds.

The lightly raced 5-year-old gelding was making his second turf start in the Grade 3 Smith after finishing fourth in the Grade 2 Knickerbocker at Belmont Park on Oct. 9.

The way the race unfolded, Prado had Spring Quality perfectly situated.

"There was not much speed in the race, so I put him in a good position," Prado said. "He gave me a great feeling last time on the turf."

Prior to the Knickerbocker, Spring Quality had won back-to-back Pennsylvania-bred stakes, the Roanoke at Parx and the Robellino at Penn National. He is now 5 for 8 with earnings of $295,797.

Motion said he might freshen Spring Quality and then point him to more ambitious turf spots next season.

"He's a very talented horse," Motion said. "Maybe I waited longer than I should have to put him on grass, but he's a Quality Road and I didn't just want to make a turf horse out of him."

The Red Smith was the longest race of Spring Quality's career, but he relaxed nicely and certainly came home well.

"The distance was no problem for him," Motion said. "I don't know that he needs 1 1/2 miles, but it doesn't bother me with him."

Call Provision deserves bonus points for closing from eighth position following the soft early pace.

Oscar Nominated, the 7-2 second choice, raced in fifth early but was outfinished and ended up eighth.

Hunter O'Riley failed to make an impact at 7-1.