Caledonia Road, the 2017 champion 2-year-old filly, was quite pleased to return to the work tab Feb. 21 at Palm Meadows Training Center and emerged from her first move of the season in good order.
The daughter of Quality Road —who underwent surgery to remove bone chips from her right ankle about three weeks after her Eclipse Award-clinching victory in the 14 Hands Winery Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) Nov. 4 at Del Mar—has been on the muscle in Florida with trainer Ralph Nicks, and she finally was able to stretch her legs Feb. 21 with a three-furlong move in :38.45.
"It was time," Nicks said Feb. 23. "In some worlds you might have waited a little longer, but it was time. The day before, when she turned around after her morning exercise, she was a handful coming home. I needed to let her do a little something, I guess she needed to get out a little emotional stress.
"It was a very nice, smooth, fluid work. She'll work back in either six or seven days, probably seven, and we should get a better idea after that of how quickly she may start coming around. She was very strong in her gallop this morning, so all is well."
Racing for Luc Paiement's Zoom and Fish Stable, Charlie Spiring, and Newtown Anner Stud, Caledonia Road jumped up and won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at odds of 17-1 off a runner-up finish in the Oct. 8 Frizette Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park, after breaking her maiden at first asking Sept. 3 at Saratoga Race Course.
"It was all kind of sudden. She got good at Saratoga, broke her maiden at the end of it, and then it was a whirlwind for 60 days, basically," Nicks said. "She breaks her maiden, runs well in the Frizette, and she blossomed some more. Then we went to California, and for her to run the way she did and end up being the champion—it was an amazing run."
Caledonia Road's connections maintain the May 4 Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) could be a target, but they won't push the bay filly if she needs more time to get back to the races.
"I won't even start considering anything until mid-March—around the third week of March—before I even start thinking about which way to go," Nicks said of potential spots for the filly's 3-year-old debut. "I don't think it will take her long to come around, but I don't want to get too far in front of her."
Caledonia Road was bred in Florida by Vegso Racing Stable and is out of the Dixie Union mare Come a Callin. She was purchased by Paiement for $140,000 through Eaton Sales' consignment to the 2016 Keeneland September yearling sale and has earnings of $1,229,800 from her three starts.