Quality Road , winner of this year’s BlackBerry Presents the 58th Running of the Florida Derby (gr. I) and Fountain of Youth (gr. II), has been transferred from Jimmy Jerkens’ barn to Todd Pletcher by owner and breeder Edward P. Evans, who also took five other horses away from Jerkens.
Quality Road was the early favorite for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) before suffering a quarter-crack and then re-aggravating the injury, which caused him to be with be withdrawn from the Run for the Roses.
"Mr. Evans just felt it was time to go in a different direction," said Chris Baker, farm manager of Evans’ Spring Hill Farm near Casanova, Va. "Periodically, Mr. Evans does some expanding and consolidating of his stable as it regards to the trainers, and he felt a change was necessary for these horses at this time. It wasn’t something he went into lightly. Mr. Evans is very appreciative and thankful of the job Jimmy has done, but he still felt he needed to go in a different direction."
Quality Road, by Elusive Quality – Kobla, by Strawberry Road, who was bought back by Evans after failing to meet his reserve at the Keeneland September yearling sale, won three of his four career starts for Jerkens.
Ironically, it was Pletcher who was trying to beat Quality Road in the Florida Derby, finishing second to him with his $3.7 million yearling Dunkirk. The final time of 1:47.72 was the fastest nine-furlong time run at Gulfstream Park since the re-configuration of the track.
Quality Road, who recently started breezing again, had been aiming for a return in the Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga Aug. 1.
Pletcher received two of the horses, three went to Kiaran McLaughlin, and one was sent to Tony Dutrow.