QUALITY ROAD SCHOOLS AT THE BIG A

Virginia-bred Quality Road had a successful schooling at Aqueduct over the weekend and is due to work this morning (Monday). His connections are likely to make a decision regarding Saturday’s Gr. I Cigar Mile later this week.

According to Chris Baker, farm manager for Edward P. Evans, Quality Road was vanned from Belmont to Aqueduct, along with two other Spring Hill horses.

Shortly before 11 a.m., Quality Road was led to the Aqueduct paddock in company with stablemates Nite Light and Storm Play. The colt stood quietly in the saddling enclosure while being tacked up and, after regular jockey John Velazquez was given a leg up by Pletcher, made several circuits of the paddock.

QR was then handed off to a NYRA lead pony and taken to the track for a simulated pre-race warm-up with the two other horses. The group worked its way toward the gate, which was positioned at the back of the mile chute on Aqueduct’s main track.

As he has done all week at Belmont under the supervision of former NYRA starter Bob Duncan, Quality Road loaded into the gate at least a half-dozen times without incident, both with and without Velazquez aboard, and led by both Duncan and assistant NYRA starter Guido Rouse. The colt stood in the gate for varying lengths of time before being backed out, and never balked or fussed.

“We wanted to come as close as we could to simulating a race without actually doing so,” Pletcher said. “He handled it the same way he’s handled schooling all week — perfectly.”

(Photo courtesy of the Blood-Horse/NYRA)