Stepping onto the main track shortly after the renovation break, Quality Road turned in an effortless five-furlong breeze Aug. 1 in his final serious move for the $750,000 Whitney Invitational Handicap (gr. I) Aug. 7 at Saratoga.
Under exercise rider Patti Barry, the 4-year-old colt worked alone in 1:00.02, and was teh sixth-fastest of 27 at the distance.
“I thought it was another very, very good breeze,” said Todd Pletcher, who trains Quality Road for Edward P. Evans. “He went super. What I like is the way he’s moving, and how effortlessly he did it. He’s pretty amazing.
“His last few works (in company) have been brilliant, and we wanted to go alone and do a little less today,” Pletcher said. “I think we have a fit and happy horse, which is the goal.”
Quality Road (Elusive Quality —Kobla, by Strawberry Road) last won the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) May 31.
Blame , winner of the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs in June, also worked that morning for the Whitney, going an easy half-mile under jockey Garrett Gomez. Working in company with an unnamed 2-year-old filly, Blame was timed in :49.02, which ranked 34th of 67 works at the distance.
“Our plan in coming up here was to have all his major works completed at Keeneland,” said Al Stall, Jr., who trains Blame for Adele Dilschneider and the Hancock family’s Claiborne Farm. “He worked in company because we wanted him to get a little ‘racier.’ Our main goal is still Nov. 6 (Breeders’ Cup Classic, gr. I).”
Blame (Arch —Liable, by Seeking the Gold) will carry a four-race win streak into the Whitney, which is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.