Quality Road Colts Farmington Road, Dr Post In Belmont Tune-Ups For Pletcher

The Todd Pletcher-trained pair of Farmington Road and Dr Post worked a half-mile in company in 48.87 seconds on the Belmont Park main track Saturday in preparation for the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes on June 20 in Elmont, N.Y.

Under mostly sunny skies and over a fast main track, stakes-placed Farmington Road and stakes-winner Dr Post worked in tandem following the renovation break, with Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano and Irad Ortiz, Jr aboard, respectively. The duo reached the wire together and galloped out strongly.

Both Belmont Stakes aspirants also worked together last week at Palm Beach Downs in Florida.

Pletcher said all went well with their final preparation for the Belmont Stakes, slated as the opening leg of the Triple Crown for the first time ever.

“I was very pleased with the work. I was a little concerned going in, working the two horses together but I felt like that was the best matchup for each horse,” Pletcher said. “They worked in company together last week at Palm Beach Downs and it seemed to go well.

“I thought both horses relaxed nicely in the early part of their work, finished up strongly and galloped out very, very nice. All in all, it went well.”

Both Farmington Road and Dr Post are sired by last year’s leading Grade 1-producer Quality Road, who coincidentally also was conditioned by Pletcher during his racing years.

“You can see similarities in both of them to their sire,” Pletcher said. “I would say that Dr Post looks more like Quality Road because he’s a bit of a bigger horse, but you can definitely see a similarity in both of them.”

Dr Post, owned by Vincent Viola’s St Elias Stable, has done no wrong in his pair of starts this year. He emerged off a nearly nine-month layoff with a second-out graduation at Gulfstream Park on March 29 going seven furlongs before stretching out to two turns in winning his stakes debut in the Unbridled at the South Florida oval.

“Dr Post is doing great. The longer we have him, the more he reminds us of his sire Quality Road,” Pletcher said. “He looks a lot like him, he showed some versatility already breaking his maiden at seven furlongs and coming back in a stake in his second start of the year going a mile and a sixteenth, encountered a lot of traffic that day and was still able to win. He seems to have moved forward in his training since then.”

Dr Post faced a small but seasoned field in the Unbridled, which included graded-stakes placed Attachment Rate as well as stakes winners Soros and Relentless Dancer.

“The thing we really liked about the Unbridled was, especially leading into a race like the Belmont, it was only his second start of the year and third career start, but he got so much out of that race and so much education it was almost like an extra start,” Pletcher said. “I’m hoping that will pay dividends because he’s giving up some seasoning and experience to some really nice horses, but we felt like we got a lot out of the Unbridled.”

A $400,000 purchase from the Hunter Valley Farm consignment barn at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Dr Post is out of the graded stakes winning Hennessy broodmare Mary Delaney.

Owned by Aron Wellman’s Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Robert LaPenta and Chrysalis Stables, Farmington Road, currently 24th on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 15 points, will be attempting a first stakes victory. Following a third-out 1 ¾-length maiden victory at Tampa Bay Downs, Farmington Road was fourth in the Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds on February 15 and in a division of the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby on May 2, earning a respective five and ten points. He was also a close second in the Oaklawn Stakes on April 11.

Traditionally contested at 1 1/2-miles and held as the third and final leg of the Triple Crown, the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes will be run at a distance of 1 1/8-miles to properly account for the schedule adjustments to the Triple Crown series and overall calendar for 3-year-olds in training.

“We felt like he could be the horse that would really enjoy the mile-and-a-half,” Pletcher said. “But since that’s not an option we’re hoping that the mile-and-an-eighth, if he gets a good honest pace to run at, he would certainly benefit from that. He’s got a patented style; he’s going to drop back and make one run. We just need a good solid pace to come back to him a little bit.”

Pletcher said he was satisfied with Farmington Road’s last out run in the Arkansas Derby, where he was last early off a moderate pace, began making up ground approaching the far turn, ending up fourth.

“Solid effort in the Arkansas Derby and I think it was a tough track to make up a lot of ground,” Pletcher said. “He’s got a good three-eighths mile run and we have to time it just right. The main thing is getting a track that suits that style and an honest pace. That’s what he really needs.”

Bred in Kentucky by co-owner Chrysalis Stables, Farmington Road is out of the Langfuhr broodmare Silver La Belle, who is a half-sister to multiple turf graded stakes winner Silverfoot.

Some notable Pletcher alumnae are being represented by their offspring in this year’s Belmont Stakes including last year’s leading first crop stallion Constitution, who sires likely favorite Tiz the Law.

“He’s making Constitution proud,” Pletcher said. “Tiz the Law has been very impressive in all of his races, especially in the Florida Derby.”

In other news out of the Pletcher barn, Repole Stables and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Moretti emerged from his triumph in Thursday’s Flat Out in good order and remains a likely candidate for the Grade 2, $200,000 Suburban on July 4 at Belmont Park.

“Moretti came back great. He relished the mile and three eighths, looked like he could’ve gone around there again,” Pletcher said. “We’re just hoping to have more options like that. We’re still waiting on some stake schedules so we don’t know all the options we’ll have, but a race like the Suburban at a mile and a quarter is on the radar and hopefully by then we’ll know what the rest of the campaign can look like.”

The post Quality Road Colts Farmington Road, Dr Post In Belmont Tune-Ups For Pletcher appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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