In his first move since stretching his 2010 record to a perfect 3-for-3 in Memorial Day’s Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, Quality Road covered the four furlongs in an easy 50.26 after the break, while Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver went the same distance in 50.66, both over the main track.
Quality Road, the nation’s top older male in training, is targeting the Grade 1 Whitney at Saratoga Race Course on August 7, while the next major New York objective for Super Saver is the Grade 1 Travers on August 28.
“We’ll pick it up a little but with Super Saver as we go along, but so far he’s doing very well,” said Pletcher of the WinStar colt. “I’m real happy with his overall condition and weight. The way he’s moving and everything else indicates to me he’s rounding into top form.”
Pletcher said he considered changing the timing of Quality Road’s first work back, but decided against it.
“If he were to run in the Suburban or something, I would have worked him last week,” he said Edward P. Evans’ colt. “But with him not running until August 7, I didn’t really feel the need to work him last week. I probably could have waited another week, but I didn’t want to get into a situation where we were playing catch up at any point.”
Pletcher said the filly Devil May Care, who breezed five furlongs Sunday in 1:01.84, was on target for her engagement in the Grade 1 Mother Goose on June 26 at Belmont Park. The trainer is also pointing Katy Now, who went a half-mile Sunday morning in 48.48, and Ailalea, who went a half-mile over the training track in 50.07, to the Mother Goose.
“Obviously, in a perfect world, we wouldn’t be running these three fillies all together,” said Pletcher. “It’s not effective stable management from my perspective. But it’s what the owners want, it’s a Grade 1, and it’s at home, so that’s attractive.”
Among other notable Pletcher works Sunday morning were Munnings (5F, 1:00.46), Le Grand Cru (4F, 47.10), Driven by Success (4F, 48.02), American Dance (4F, 50.14), Discreetly Mine (4F, 49.55), Interactif (4F, 50.44), Christmas for Liam (5F, 1:01.82), and Hunters Bay (5F, 1:01.82).
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Aikenite, who had made eight consecutive starts in graded stakes before winning a deep allowance race on Saturday at Belmont Park, is likely to make an immediate return to stakes competition, his trainer Todd Pletcher revealed.
“I’ll talk to Mr. [Cothran] Campbell [of Dogwood Stable] and come up with a game plan,” said Pletcher. “It will probably be a stakes at Saratoga.”
Aikenite broke his maiden on debut last August at Saratoga, then was third in the Grade 1 Three Chimneys Hopeful and second in the Grade 1 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity. This year he was third in the Grade 2 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth and runner-up in the Grade 3 The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial. After finishing 10th in the Grade 1 Preakness, Aikenite rallied to post a two-length victory in yesterday’s sixth race.
“It was a good effort – a big turnaround,” said Pletcher. “Obviously he’s been running against some of the best 3-year-olds in the country. On paper it looked like we didn’t necessarily get an easier spot, but he settled well and got a nice run out of it.”
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Redding Colliery, winner of the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap on May 31, went a half-mile Sunday morning in 48.14 and is under consideration for the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park on July 3.
“We’re keeping one eye on the Suburban,” said Artie Magnuson, assistant to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “Since we’ve stretched him out, he’s really been improving. It was a tough ship to Texas, so we’re not too quick to run him back.”
Magnuson added that Uptowncharlybrown, who finished fifth in the Belmont Stakes, was still several weeks away from breezing.
“He ran hard in the Belmont,’ he said. “Now, we have to look ahead and think of what’s best for the horse.”