QR PASSES FIRST POST-BC GATE TEST

According to Steve Haskins at the Bloodhorse.com:

(Virginia-bred) Quality Road, whose exploits have been followed closely since his traumatic encounter with the starting gate before the Breeders’ Cup Classic cleared a major hurdle Wednesday, schooling at Belmont to the satisfaction of trainer Todd Pletcher and starter Bob Duncan.

“Todd and Bob reported that Quality Road did everything very well,” said Chris Baker, farm manager for owner Edward P. Evans. “He went in and out of the gate with the doors open and the doors closed–all good.”

Baker said further schooling was scheduled for Thursday morning, with the possibility of shipping the colt to Aqueduct to school over the weekend.

“Starting in a race will be the real test, as the colt has always schooled well in the mornings,” Baker said. “Both Todd and Bob are optimistic that we don’t have a long-term problem on our hands at this point in the process.”

The important aspect of Wednesday’s schooling was that it showed the incident at Santa Anita apparently has not left any emotional scars as far as the actual gate goes. How Quality Road handles additional stress placed on him in future sessions and how he handles a race atmosphere will determine his future this year as it pertains to the Hill ‘n’ Dale Cigar Mile Nov. 28.