Fountain of Youth winner Quality Road is one of the leading contenders for the Florida Derby.

Fountain of Youth winner Quality Road is one of the leading contenders for the Florida Derby.

Coglianese Photos

Dunkirk, Quality Road Post Sharp Drills

The colts are leading contenders for the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park March 28.

(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.”