The D. Wayne Lukas-trained Ethereal Road (Quality Road) has a quarter crack and will not ship to New York for Saturday's GI Belmont S., the New York Racing Association announced Monday.
A maiden winner in his second start around two turns this past January, the $90,000 Keeneland September graduate ran a monster race to be second in the GII Rebel S. before finishing off the board in the GI Toyota Blue Grass S. and GIII Stonestreet Lexington S. on consecutive weekends in April. Nevertheless, Ethereal Road was entered for the GI Kentucky Derby and drew gate 20, but his 11th-hour scratching allowed the first of two horses on the also-eligible list, Rich Strike (Keen Ice), to draw into the race. The chestnut would go on to upset the Run for the Roses at 80-1, while Ethereal Road entered the Belmont conversation with a convincing victory in the Sir Barton S. on the GI Preakness S. undercard May 21.
“He popped a quarter crack. We'll soak it and get him better and look for another one,” Lukas said. “I really wanted to run him in [the Belmont Stakes], I thought that's the one he really fit. But the horse has the final say, so we'll have to skip it. We'll look at the Ohio Derby, definitely the Jim Dandy and Travers will be on our radar. We'll bring him up to Saratoga, so we'll look at that.”