Edward Evans’ Quality Road breezed a half-mile in :48 3/5 at Churchill Downs Oct. 31 in his final work before the Nov. 6 Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) at the Kentucky racetrack.
The move was seventh best of 60 at the distance on a fast track. Trainer Todd Pletcher said he was pleased with the work as well as with the way Quality Road is heading into the $5 million Classic at 1 1/4 miles.
“Quality Road is an exceptionally talented horse that does things easily,” Pletcher said after several of his World Championships starters worked. “He gets over the ground well. The good thing is there have been quite a few times when he has had a lot of time between races, and we have a pretty good line of what it takes to get him ready.”
Quality Road, a 4-year-old Elusive Quality colt, last raced Sept. 4 when he won the grade I Woodward Stakes at Saratoga by an easy 4 3/4 lengths. Since then has had a series of steady works on the Belmont Park training track.
Dogwood Stable’s Aikenite worked with Quality Road and was timed in :48 4/5. Pletcher said Aikenite, pre-entered in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I), “held his own very well. He got what we wanted him to get out of the work.”
In his lone race at Churchill, Aikenite, a 3-year-old colt by Yes It’s True, finished second in the grade III Derby Trial around one turn earlier this year.
“We weren’t looking for a whole lot from either of them,” Pletcher said. “Stay Thirsty has had a lot of conditioning at Belmont Park. Uncle Mo went a slower than I wanted, but it was the right kind of slow.”
Both colts are owned by Repole Stable. Stay Thirsty last raced Sept. 6 and finished second in the grade I Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga behind Boys at Toscanova. Uncle Mo, a son of Indian Charlie who is undefeated in two excellent starts, won the grade I Champagne Stakes at Belmont Oct. 9.
Pletcher said Stay Thirsty, a 2-year-old colt by Bernardini , has been “overlooked a little” because of Uncle Mo this year, but he’s bred to do better things as a 3-year-old.
“We’re excited about him because he’s bred to go farther,” Pletcher said. “I’m actually surprised how precocious he has been (at this stage).”
Paul Pompa Jr.’s Rose Catherine, a 3-year-old Speightstown filly that will tackle males in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IIT) at five furlongs, worked a half-mile in :49 3/5. She had the turf course all to herself.
“She’s a superior work horse,” Pletcher said. “She’d work as fast as any horse if we allowed her to. She worked well; it was a nice, quiet turf course with no one else out there.”
Rose Catherine has been brilliant in her last four starts, all at five furlongs or 5 ½ furlongs on firm turf. Three of the victories came in stakes, and three of her six wins this year came against older fillies and mares.