Even more Road to the Kentucky Derby...Spotlight...Quality Road
Trainer James Jerkens has an opportunity to accomplish something his hall of famer father never could... ...Win the Kentucky Derby.
For all the accomplishments of H. Allen Jerkens, 4 Suburban Handicap’s, 4 Brooklyn Handicap’s, 5 Vagrancy Handicap’s as well as the 1975 Derby Trial Stakes, Giant Killer as he is widely known in today’s racing circles has never captured the elusive garland of roses.
With the third Kentucky Derby Futures pool opening up this Thursday, Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia has penciled in Allen’s son James and his charge, Florida Derby winner Quality Road as the narrow 6-1 choice to capture all the marbles on May 2nd.
Quality Road is only the fourth foal produced by the obscure Strawberry Road (Aus) mare named Kobla who is a full sister to Grade 1 starlet Aijina who captured the 1997 Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Five of Aijina seven wins were achieved at the distance of nine furlongs or more giving Quality Road an indirect link to the Kentucky Derby’s mile and a quarter distance.
In three career races Quality Road has only been beaten to the finish line by one horse. Theregoesjojo beat Quality Road by 2 3/4 lengths in a January 10th Allowance (7 furlongs) race at Gulfstream Park. Since that time the two have squared off in both the Fountain of Youth Stakes (1 Mile) and the Florida Derby (1 1/8 mile) with Quality Road turning the tables on jojo on consecutive occasions.
Quality Road’s achievements in the Florida Derby didn’t end with his consecutive victories over jojo. Quality Road also turned back the highly touted, previously undefeated Dunkirk well setting a track record over Gulfstream’s white hot dirt course. Three records in all were broken on Saturday afternoon at Gulfstream’s, rasing significant question regarding the legitimacy of Quality Road’s run time and subsequent record setting performance.
Prepping is through for Quality Road which raise an interesting question regarding the layoff between now and Derby Day.
How will Quality Road run coming off a thirty+ day layoff?
"For thoroughbred race horses the sky is not the limit... ...the finish line is"
It’s interesting to note the potential hazards that can be encountered when horses are forced to race on paved super highways rather then the more forgiving dirt race courses that they are used to
thinking back to the 2001 Derby (from memory only) as Justin mentioned earlier, the track was like running on concrete according to Baffert. Maidens were breaking records and records that were set in say race 2 were broken again in race 4. Point Given (losing the Derby) was not the only casualty in the 2001 Derby. I remember reading (or hearing) that no horse in the field (except for Point Given) ever won another race. Some never raced again. Their legs were ruined by the surface that day and many had small fractures from which they never recovered. Monarchos was one that never fully recovered.