February 15, 2016
QUALITY ROAD solidified his status as the nation’s #1 Third Crop Sire with a strong Presidents Day weekend that included a win by Frank Conversation in the G3 El Camino Real Derby and by Marengo Road in the Miracle Wood S. Both are 3-year-old colts by QUALITY ROAD.
It’s fair to say that Frank Conversation put himself on the Kentucky Derby trail with a good-looking win in Saturday’s El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields, his second straight stakes win. It was the first graded victory for the colt, who is owned by Reddam Racing and trained by Doug O’Neill. Floated three or four wide into the first turn, Frank Conversation continue to race wide up the backstretch and into the second turn before making an eye-catching move nearing the quarter pole. He hit the front soon after and leveled out beautifully in the lane to win by an unextended 3/4-length margin.
“That was a big-time performance today,” commented O’Neill. “We were concerned about the 11-hole, but Mario [Gutierrez] did a very good job of getting him into position so he was just four-wide.”
Frank Conversation was coming off a daylight victory in the $100,000 California Derby, also over Golden Gate’s Tapeta.
“It does look like synthetic or turf is his thing, but we’ll definitely try a big race on dirt soon,” O’Neill added. “The race at Turfway Park [GIII Spiral S. Apr. 2] is something we’d look at first because it is on synthetic. [But] watching him train on dirt, it looks like he’s not only a synthetic and turf horse. He and Nyquist haven’t worked together; they’re both so professional that they do everything we ask working alone.”
A Laurel Park, meanwhile, QUALITY ROAD’s Marengo Road earned the first stakes victory of his career in the Miracle Wood. Owned by Tom and Harry Meyerhoff and trained by Michael Trombetta, Marengo Road pressed the 2-5 favorite Never Gone South from the outside, put that foe away in mid-stretch and dug in to post the 3/4-length win. Marengo Road broke his maiden on the grass at Laurel in September before romping by 9 1/4 lengths in a main-track allowance in November.
QUALITY ROAD’s big weekend also saw his 4-year-old son Follow Me Crev win a salty $65,000 allowance going 1 1/16 miles on the main track at Santa Anita on Sunday. Facing a field that included the graded winners Prospect Park, Big Cazanova (Arg) and Midnight Hawk, Follow Me Crev raced along last of six through the opening half, then rallied powerfully down the center of the track to prevail going away by 2 1/2 lengths.
QUALITY ROAD is the co-#1 Third Crop Sire with two stakes winners in 2016, and is the #1 sire by earnings, ahead of Munnings, Temple City, Super Saver, Eskendereya, Blame, et al.