Coglianese Photos

Pletcher's Belmont Brigade Works for BC Tilts

Quality Road has trainer's confidence as he prepares to ship to Churchill Downs.

Part of Todd Pletcher’s Breeders’ Cup brigade took to Belmont’s training track to breeze one final time before they depart for Churchill Downs Oct. 26.

Leading the work parade Oct. 23 was Edward P. Evans’ homebred Quality Road , who breezed five furlongs in 1:01.41 and will attempt to gain his first victory at 1 ¼ miles when he competes in the Classic.

“It was a similar type of work [to last week’s],” said Pletcher. “Last week we went three quarters and this week we went five eighths. The big gallop out was another step towards having him prepared for a mile and a quarter. Based on the way he’s been finishing his breezes and galloping out, I think we’ve got him just where he needs to be for that type of race.”

Pletcher expressed satisfaction with how the 4-year-old son of Elusive Quality has not deviated from his original workout schedule. The four-time grade I winner has won eight of 12 starts for earnings of more than $2.2 million, including a win in the Sept. 4 Woodward Stakes (gr. I) in his most recent start.

“Every breeze has been on the day we wanted, and every one has been executed the way we’ve wanted,” said Pletcher. “We’ve got the bulk of our training done. It’s just a matter of shipping in safely. He’ll have a maintenance-type drill over the track at Churchill. He’ll probably have two or three gate schooling sessions there.”

Mike Repole’s Juvenile contenders, Uncle Mo  and Stay Thirsty , turned in separate breezes. Uncle Mo, impressive winner of the Champagne Stakes (gr. I), covered four furlongs in :49.97, while Stay Thirsty, second in Saratoga's Three Chimneys Hopeful (gr. I), traversed five furlongs in 1:01.38.

“(Uncle Mo’s breeze) was just very easy,” said Pletcher. “I thought he galloped out the first eighth well. We’ll see how he ships in and might do something a little longer next time, perhaps five eighths. We’ll just play it by ear. (Stay Thirsty) is obviously on a different program, having not run since the Hopeful.”

Rose Catherine, who will represent owner Paul Pompa Jr. when she faces males in the Turf Sprint (gr. IIT), breezed five furlongs in 1:04.26.

“She finished up OK, and it was a 'what-I would-expect-her-to-do' type of work on the dirt,” said Pletcher.

Bribon, under consideration for the Sprint, was clocked at 1:01.06 for five furlongs.

“I think the horse is training as well has he ever has,” said Pletcher. “We’ll talk to [owner Derrick] Smith in the morning and see if he wants to put up the supplement. Our other option would be to stay here and run in the Bold Ruler (gr. III at Belmont Oct. 30) and the (Hill ‘n’ Dale) Cigar Mile (gr. I at Aqueduct Nov. 27).”