Quality Road gets back to work in Amsterdam
QUALITY ROAD (Elusive Quality), impressive winner of the Florida Derby (G1) and Fountain of Youth S. (G2) earlier this year, makes his long-awaited return to action Monday when he faces five rivals in the $150,000 Amsterdam S. (G2) at Saratoga. The 6 1/2-furlong contest, Quality Road's first since being transferred from trainer James Jerkens to Todd Pletcher, could be used as a springboard toward the August 29 Travers S. (G1), which would mark the Edward Evans' homebred's first attempt beyond nine furlongs.
A winner in three of four career starts, Quality Road stamped himself as the potential Kentucky Derby (G1) favorite with a strong 1 3/4-length tally in the Florida Derby on March 28. A quarter-crack in his right hind foot was discovered by Jerkens as the colt returned to the winner's circle after that race, however, and, after another quarter-crack developed in his right front hoof, the decision was made to withdraw the colt's name from consideration on the Monday before the Kentucky Derby. Slow to heal, Quality Road was forced to miss the entire Triple Crown series and was ultimately moved to the Pletcher barn in mid-June.
Quality Road, who won his debut at the distance at Aqueduct in November, drew post 4 for the Amsterdam and will attempt to keep pace with a strong group of sprint specialists. The most notable is CAPT. CANDYMAN CAN (Candy Ride [Arg]), who is three-for-four this season with scores in the Hutcheson S. (G2), Bay Shore S. (G3) and Matt Winn S. His only loss, to Quality Road in the one-mile Fountain of Youth, resulted in a distant fourth-place finish. Like most of the other main contenders in the field, the Ian Wilkes charge is likely using the Amsterdam as a stepping stone to the August 29 King's Bishop S. (G1) at seven furlongs.
EVERYDAY HEROES (Awesome Again), a brilliant winner of the Hirsch Jacobs S. (G3) on the Preakness S. (G1) undercard, was beaten into second by the talented Munnings (Speightstown) in the Woody Stephens S. (G2) on the Belmont S. (G1) undercard. The Woody Stephens has already developed into a key race, with Munnings returning to win the Tom Fool H. (G2) and third-placer Kensei (Mr. Greeley) taking the Dwyer S. (G2) in his next attempt. Both Munnings and Kensei were scheduled to run over the weekend, with Munnings stretching out in Sunday's Haskell Invitational (G1) and Kensei competing in Saturday's Jim Dandy S. (G2).
This, too, will mark Everyday Heroes' first start for a new trainer in Kiaran McLaughlin. The colt, who was privately purchased by Darley following the Hirsch Jacobs, made his final start for Tim Ritchey in the Woody Stephens.
CUSTOM FOR CARLOS (More Than Ready) enters the Amsterdam off a decisive 6 1/4-length score in the Jersey Shore S. (G3) over six furlongs, and will attempt to keep pace with both Everyday Heroes and CABARET COWBOY (Speightstown), who knocked out a maiden and an allowance win during the Belmont spring meet. The Amsterdam field is rounded out by CAPTAIN CHEROKEE (Sir Cherokee), whose two career victories at Fair Grounds last winter were at a mile or beyond.
There are two other stakes on Monday's program. The $80,500 Fleet Indian S. is for New York-bred fillies and mares at seven furlongs. Last year's Matron S. (G2) winner DOREMIFASOLLATIDO (Bernstein) is one of two three-year-olds in the field, the other being the progressive KARAKORUM FUGITIVE (Ten Most Wanted). Three-time stakes winner DANCE GAL DANCE (Disco Rico) should show speed from the bell, while MORNING GALLOP (Victory Gallop) hopes to improve on her second-place finish in the 2008 Fleet Indian in her first start since early January.
Ten turf sophomores will travel one mile in the $70,000 Tap the Admiral S. JACK SPRATT (Candy Ride [Arg]), the winner of the Dania Beach S. in January at Gulfstream Park, has failed to make a impact in graded company, but the Mike Maker pupil comes off a third to Secretariat S. (G1)-bound Driving Snow (GB) (Verglas [Ire]) in the Oliver S. at Indiana Downs. Christophe Clement and Bill Mott have entered two apiece. Representing Mott are TAMBORIM (Belong to Me) and STRIKE AGAIN (Dixie Union), while Clement is responsible for GOLDEN MEXICO (Ire) (Daggers Drawn) and ENDYMION (Tapit). Tamborim and Endymion are both cross-entered to Sunday's Jersey Derby at Monmouth. Also likely to attract support in the Tap the Admiral is the well-bred A. P. RIDGE (A.P. Indy), who brings a two-race winning streak into his stakes, and turf, debut for Jonathan Sheppard.
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