(from Gulfstream Park)
Dunkirk and Quality Road , the two likely favorites for the $750,000 Florida Derby (gr. I) on March 28 at Gulfstream Park, posted impressive workouts on a fast track on the morning of March 21 at Palm Meadows.
Dunkirk, working in company with highly-regarded stablemate Affirmatif, was timed a ‘bullet’ five furlongs in 1:00:15 for trainer Todd Pletcher. Quality Road was timed in 1:25 for seven furlongs for trainer Jimmy Jerkens, the only horse working that distance on the tab.
Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith own Dunkirk, a $3.7-million yearling who has won both of his prior starts impressively. Pletcher left shortly after training hours for a flight to Kentucky where he sends out James Scatuorchio and John Iracane’s 3-year-old Bittel Road as the morning-line favorite in the $500,000 Lane’s End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park.
Later in the morning Jerkens said of Quality Road, who won the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (gr. II) by more than four lengths on Feb. 28: “He worked good. He went early so it was kind of hard to see, but I got the first half in 48 and change and the last quarter in 23. It was a good work. We’re only a week away, but we didn’t want him to go too fast.
“The work before the (Fountain of Youth) was supposed to be fast (five furlongs in :58 2/5) because we were going a mile. This one was a little slower because we’re looking for him to go further and we want to build up his stamina. But we also wanted to see something, because he’s a big talented horse and you want to make sure he gets something out of it.
“That’s what he did. It was perfect. I’m very happy with the work. I might do something Thursday or Friday just to get his lungs opened up before the race.”