#9 – The Amsterdam


After a couple of very strong efforts at Gulfstream in the spring, Quality Road was considered one of the main contenders for the Kentucky Derby.  His Florida Derby victory earned him the label of “superstar” from track announcer Larry Collmus as he handily dispatched Dunkirk in the final three-sixteenths of a mile.  A series of quarter cracks kept him from being able to run in any of the Triple Crown races and in June it was announced he’d be moving to the stable of Todd Pletcher.  The Amsterdam was his first start since the Florida Derby and it was a rather salty Grade II at the tricky distance of 6.5 furlongs.


Quality Road was sent off the favorite at 7-10 in the field of six and it was quite clear that if the same horse we had all seen at Gulfstream showed up then the other five participants were in trouble.  He had worked well but the only question mark, aside from the layoff, was that the connections’ main goal was the Travers, which begged the question about how fit this strapping son of Elusive Quality would be for this “tightener.” 

By the time August rolled around, Capt. Candyman Can had already accumulated wins in the Hutcheson, Bay Shore, and Matt Winn and was returning off a freshening that trainer Ian Wilkes gave him for the summer.  He had met Quality Road once before in the Fountain of Youth and finished a well-beaten fourth.  However, that event was at a mile and since then the “Captain” had made it clear he excelled at seven furlongs.  His trainer was poised for a breakthrough meet at the Spa and he seemed to have this son of Candy Ride ready to roll.

Everyday Heroes had shown potential early in his 3YO season and he broke through for a decisive win in the Hirsch Jacobs on Preakness Day at Pimlico.  He entered the Amsterdam off of a 3rd place finish in the Woody Stephens and was now in the care of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin after being purchased by Sheikh Mohammed earlier in the summer. 

Custom For Carlos looked like an up and comer as he entered this race off a win in the Jersey Shore at Monmouth where he ran away from the field late and earned a 106 Beyer figure.  He was clearly a late bloomer, the type that often prove very dangerous in the latter part of the year.


As the daunting presence of Quality Road loomed on the outside it was clear that he came back from his injury-induced vacation wearing his running shoes.  He inhaled the leaders in upper stretch and powered away to a 2 1/4 length lead.  Capt. Candyman Can rallied late but was ultimately no match for the winner as he ducked in late to save the place spot.  Based on the way the winner ran there’s no way you can say anyone disappointed, but a bit more was probably expected from Everyday Heroes.  In the chart to the left, courtesy of Daily Racing Form, you’ll notice that Quality Road’s posted final time of 1:13.74 was good for a track record.  The time was adjusted by the New York Racing Association after initially being recorded as .32 seconds faster.


As we recapped yesterday, Quality Road made his 2nd start off the long layoff in the Travers and checked in third behind Summer Bird.  He subsequently fell to Summer Bird again in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and was entered in the Breeders’ Cup Classic only to be scratched at the gate after throwing a tantrum the likes of which we’ve rarely seen in the minutes leading up to a marquee race.


Enjoy Quality Road’s track record-setting performance in the Amsterdam:

See you tomorrow when we continue the countdown with the 8th greatest race in NY in 2009!


One Response to “#9 – The Amsterdam”

  1. Jessica Chapel / Railbird v2 - Racing ‘09, ’00s in Review: The List of Lists Says:

    […] 10 Best NY Races: #10, #9 (Nick […]

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