|HAL'S HOPE S.|
Won at 4HAL'S HOPE S.
(gr. III , 8f , defeating You and I Forever, Congressional Page, Harlem Rocker, Helsinki, Le Grand Cru, Colonial Causeway, Spin Master, Suyeta ).
Quality Road captured the Jan. 3 HalÕs Hope Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park and topped the $1-million mark in the process. The victory came in his first start since he was scratched from the BreedersÕ Cup Classic (gr. I) in November after throwing a fit while being loaded into the starting gate and breaking through the gate.
Quality Road, the 2-5 HalÕs Hope favorite under jockey John Velazquez, won the mile race by 23Ú4 lengths over You and I Forever in 1:36.33.
ÒWe thought there might be more speed in there than it turned out, but they went in pretty slow fractions as the race unfolded, and he was comfortable on the lead in :25 and :48 and change while Johnny let him come out off the rail and relax,Ó said trainer Todd Pletcher, who trains Quality Road for breeder/owner Edward P. Evans. ÒWhen that other horse (You and I Forever) came up inside him, he kind of eyeballed him and just went on from there.Ó
Success at Gulfstream is nothing new for 4-year-old Quality Road. Last year at the track the son of Elusive Quality won the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) and the BlackBerry Presents the 58th Running of the Florida Derby (gr. I) in track-record time of 1:47.72 for 11Ú8 mile to emerge as one of the favorites for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Quality Road ended up missing the race because of a quarter crack and didnÕt run again until August.
Quality Road set a track record of 1:13.74 in the 61Ú2-furlong Amsterdam Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga in his first race back. He then placed to Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Summer Bird in the Shadwell Travers Stakes (gr. I) and the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I).
Evans campaigned additional 2009 graded stakes winners Cat Moves, Nite Light, and Malibu Prayer. Cat MovesÕ triumph came in the Prioress Stakes (gr. I).
Quality RoadÕs dam, Kobla, is kept at EvansÕ Spring Hill Farm near Casanova, Va. Kobla is carrying a full sibling to Quality Road and is booked back to Elusive Quality,
Elusive Quality has sired 54 stakes winners, including 16 that won stakes in 2009. Elusive Quality stands at Sheikh MohammedÕs Darley near Lexington. His 2010 fee is $75,000.ÑD.S.
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