Firecracker Breeders' Cup H. (gr. II)

(gr. IIT , 8f ,)

QUANTUM MERIT (DK B/ g, 117 lb) $178,405
Hansel —Just Flirting , by Green Dancer
B—Mr. & Mrs. Gerald Nielsen, NY.; O—Very Un Stable and Gioia, Joseph; T—Del W. Carroll, II

Perfect Soul (IRE) (B h, 121 lb) $57,550
Sadler's Wells —Ball Chairman , by Secretariat
B—C. Fipke, IRE.; O—Charles E. Fipke; T—Roger L. Attfield

Senor Swinger (GR/RO h, 117 lb) $28,775
El Prado (IRE) —Smooth Swinger , by Kris S.
B—Bob Ackerman, KY.; O—Lewis, Robert B. and Beverly J.; T—Bob Baffert

Margins: 1½, 1, 2. Others: Mr. Krisley 113($14,388) , Royal Spy 118($8,632) , On the Course 112 , Everything to Gain 114 , Puget Sound 112 , Majestic Thief 115 . Winning Jockey, Shane J. Sellers.

Quantum Merit took a quantum jump forward July 3 in winning the Firecracker Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs. The New York import has been racing almost exclusively against fellow New Yorkers for much of the past year, but his foray to Louisville proved to be a bang-up affair, as Quantum Merit earned his first graded stakes victory after three added-money wins in state-bred company. Del Carroll trains Quantum Merit for Joseph Gioia’s Very Un Stable.

Quantum Merit was bred by Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Nielsen. Gerald Nielsen was extremely active in building up New York’s breeding program and was serving his second term as president of New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc. at the time of his death this past February. The owner of Sunnyfield Farm near Bedford, N.Y., is survived by his wife of 44 years, Joanne. They were named Breeders of the Year in New York in 1991 and 2002. Among the 15 stakes winners bred by the Nielsens were Capades, a grade I winner and millionaire; New York champion turf male I’m All Yours; Roman Dancer; and Along Came Mary, the latter of whom raced in Nielsen’s name.

Just Flirting is the dam of Quantum Merit. Winless in four tries on the track, Just Flirting has produced four winners from five foals of racing age. Reluctant Groom, by Runaway Groom, placed second in the Kingston and West Point Handicaps in 2002, and was second in the previous running of the West Point as well. Just Flirting, a homebred for Gerald Nielsen, has a filly by Smoke Glacken at her side.

Quantum Merit’s second dam, Galstar, was a stakes winner who took the 1980 Frolic Handicap, and hit the board in four other added-money events. She earned more than $102,000 in 35 trips to the post. Galstar’s most successful runner was Romina Girl, by Pilgrim, who was second in a pair of 1987 stakes in Italy, including the Criterium Nazionale (It-III).

Hansel is the sire of Quantum Merit and 17 other added-money winners. The dual classic winner and champion stands at Hidaka Stallion Station near Urakawa on the Japanese island of Hokkaido.—L.S.