Quality Road Smashes Record in Amsterdam
Photo: Coglianese Photos
Quality Road returned to the track to win the Amsterdam Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.
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Quality Road   returned to racing in fine form Aug. 3 by smashing a track record in the six and half-furlong Amsterdam Stakes (gr. II) (VIDEO) at Saratoga Race Course. He stopped the timer in 1:13.45.

The final time caught some by surprise. Even during the simulcast feed, track announcer John Imbriale said "Ladies and gentlemen, we know Quality Road is a particularly fast 3-year-old, but I don’t think those times on the board are correct, but we’ll check it out." After a hand-timing and then another timing of the replay off the monitor, the record stood, breaking a 30-year-old mark of 1:14 2/5 set by Topsider on Aug. 1, 1979.

The son of Elusive Quality  , out of Kobla (by Strawberry Road), was making his first start since winning the Blackberry presents the 58th running of the Florida Derby (gr. I) back in March. The bay colt was an early favorite for the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) while in the barn of trainer Jimmy Jerkens. Quality Road developed a pair of quarter crack in his right front foot just before the race and did not compete. He returned to the work tab June 8, breezing three furlongs in 38.83, and was transferred from Jerkens to Todd Pletcher the following week.

The favorite at 3-4, Quality Road stumbled slightly at the start and was quickly settled into fourth place by jockey John Velazquez. The lead was taken by Everyday Heros under Alan Garcia and Custom for Carlos  , being ridden by Julien Leparoux, who battled head-to-head down the stretch in a :22.45 opening quarter and a half in :44.95. Custom for Carlos had just taken a slight lead entering the turn when Quality Road began gaining on the frontrunners. Midway through the turn Quality Road took the lead then swung out four wide at the top of the stretch. Second-choice in the betting Capt. Candyman Can was right at Quality Road's tail coming out of the turn and was steered to the inside of Quality Road by rider Javier Castellano just past the quarter pole. Castellano and Capt. Candyman got up to Quality Road’s left shoulder but couldn’t get past him. Quality Road drew away to win by 2 1/4 lengths over Capt. Candyman Can.

Quality Road, a Virginia-bred owned by his breeder Edward Evans, ran six furlongs in 1:07.22.

"Any time you have a horse with this type of potential, you want him to run well," Pletcher said. "You want him to run as good as he did for Jimmy. He looked like he stumbled a little at the start…but he ran as well as we wanted him to today."

Capt. Candyman Can finished four lengths ahead of third-place finisher Captain Cherokee, who left the gate at 31-1. Quality Road paid $3.50 to win, while Capt. Candyman Can paid $3.90 and $3.20. Captain Cherokee paid $5.40 to show. The $2 exacta paid $11.40, while the $2 trifecta paid $115.50.

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