Quality Road not only suffered several injuries from his traumatic incident at the starting gate prior to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I), he suffered mentally as well and now will have to van home to Belmont Park from California after refusing to get on the plane.
“He’s got stitches, he nearly knocked a tooth out, he’s got a laceration and a big bruise over one eye, and a pretty significant hematoma on his left leg,” said Chris Baker, farm manager for owner Edward P. Evans. “They appear to be passing things and soft tissue type of injuries, but he still has to recover from them and also the mental wounds.
“They tried to get him on the plane to leave
As it stands, Quality Road will board a van on Thursday night and be put in a double box stall and have his groom with him, and will be driven 36 hours straight through to Churchill Downs. He will lay over there for 48 hours and will leave for
“Most of my regret is the bad breaks he’s had," Baker said. "He had quarter cracks and we got him over that, then we had sloppy tracks in the Travers (gr. I) and Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I), and then we go have an experience like this. When he’s right and he’s on a fast track, you get nothing but pure brilliance and track records. I feel sorry for the horse for what he’s had to go through and for not being able to show how good he really is. The trauma he received on Saturday was pretty hard to digest. All we can do now is sort things out and try to give him a chance to show the brilliance we know he has.”
Baker said he’s gotten a good deal of sympathy from everyone. “I’m at the sales in
“Todd did a lot of gate schooling with him, and he’s always good in the mornings. He’s had him to the gate three or four times between the Jockey Club Gold Cup and this race, and the horse is an angel in the morning, You can’t get him to do anything wrong. They tried to get him wound up, bringing in multiple horses and spinning him in circles, anything they can to aggravate him. He’d hesitate and then walk right in. The afternoon is a different story.
“Initially, the gate crew handled things what I perceived to be very properly, patting him on the head and neck and reassuring him. He already was agitated and hesitant and they tried to do things in a calm way. Then they went right away to the harsh stuff, like the blindfold. It went from not loading to dangerous pretty quickly. The one thing I feel good about is that his behavior didn’t cost anyone else a chance to run a fair race.”
One of Baker’s regrets is that people will get the wrong impression of the horse, based on what has been written.
“They say he’s crazy and a rogue, but he’s not like that at all.," Baker said. "I’ve known that horse since he was born, and he’s never been a rogue or difficult. He’s like a puppy dog in the barn. He just was upset on this day. You get in a fight with a finely tuned athlete ready to explode on the racetrack and make him angry, it’s not going to be a good situation.
“He’s just so big at 17 hands, and he’s long, too, so that gate is a pretty small space for him. Not being able to see because of the blindfold is what really freaked him out the most.”