Augustin Stable's homebred Spring Quality thrived in the longest race of his career Nov. 11, when he edged Call Provision in deep stretch to win the $200,000 Red Smith Handicap (G3T) at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Under Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado, Spring Quality stayed just off 49-1 longshot Memories of Peter's early pace, through a quarter-mile in :26.01 and a half in :51.08 on the firm inner turf.
Prado asked and Spring Quality responded with a strong surge coming out of the final turn to outkick Call Provision at the wire for a half-length victory.
"There was not much speed in the race and this horse, the last time I rode him on the grass (in the grade 2 Knickerbocker Stakes), he showed a little more tactical speed," said Prado, who won his first graded stakes on the New York Racing Association circuit since he piloted Runhappy in the 2015 NYRA.com King's Bishop Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course. "Today he broke running, he put himself in a good spot, and I was very happy with the way he was going. He's a big horse, he's got a long stride, and that helps him in the stretch."
Spring Quality, who finished fourth in both his turf and graded stakes debut in the Oct. 9 Knickerbocker at Belmont Park, completed 1 3/8 miles in 2:17.72. Trained by Graham Motion, he won for the fifth time in nine starts and now has a stakes victory on both dirt and turf. His dirt stakes win came in the the Aug. 5 Robellino at Penn National Race Course.
"This horse is very talented," Motion said. "I probably shouldn't have waited so long to run him on the grass, but he always handled the dirt well, and being by Quality Road , I didn't want to make him into a grass horse, but I have always had a suspicion that this is what he wanted to do at the end of the day.
"I think (the distance) is no problem for him. I wasn't worried about it. Let's put it that way. I am not sure that he needs to have a mile and a half, but I wasn't worried about running him a mile and three-eighths today."
Off at odds of 12-1, Spring Quality paid $27.20 to win. The 5-year-old increased his career bankroll to $295,797.
Motion said Spring Quality could be in line for a freshening to close out the current campaign before gearing up for 2018.
"I think he can run in the big races next year," the trainer said.
Call Provision, trained by Chad Brown, has now finished first or second in his last five races. His stablemate Money Multiplier finished fourth, a nose behind Get Jets, who entered off back-to-back stakes wins for trainer Tony Dutrow.