Edward P. Evans’ Quality Road breezed five furlongs at Belmont Park the morning of Sept. 20 as he continued to work towards his next start, the grade I, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational Oct. 3.
The 3-year-old son of Elusive Quality covered the distance in 1:01.14, the 12th fastest of 26 at the distance.
The Jockey Club Gold Cup will be Quality Road’s second start at 1 1/4 miles, having finished third as the favorite in the Shadwell Travers Stakes (gr. I) to Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird, who is also being pointed for the Gold Cup.
“You would think with having a mile and a quarter race under his belt that it would be beneficial to the next one,” said trainer Todd Pletcher. “He was ready for the Travers. Given different circumstances and a different surface, we might have done better, but it wasn’t meant to be.”
The Travers, which was run over a sloppy course, was Quality Road’s second start following a five-month layoff. The probable Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr, I) favorite dropped off the Triple Crown trail with a pair of quarter crack injuries in April. His first start was in the 6 1/2-furlong Amsterdam Stakes (gr. II), which he won in an eye-popping record time of 1:13.45.
After the Travers, Pletcher said Quality Road had a challenging trip, having been stuck behind horses, but ran well despite the obstacles.