'TDN Rising Star' Agate Road Earns BC Berth In Pilgrim

Agate Road | Walter Wlodarczyk

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Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable's 'TDN Rising Star' Agate Road (Quality Road) saved his best for last, as he found his best stride inside the final furlong and edged away to take Wednesday's GII Pilgrim S., earning an all-expenses-paid trip to Santa Anita for the Nov. 3 GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf in the process.

Favored at a shade under 5-2 the $650,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase–carrying the St. Elias colors this time–was content to sit one from the tail as the outposted Spirit Prince (Cairo Prince)–a latest third in the GIII With Anticipation S. Aug. 31–crossed and cleared all the inside traffic to lead through an opening quarter in :23.51. Quietly ridden down the back by Irad Ortiz, Jr., Agate Road was asked for some acceleration as the at the midpoint turn with less than three furlongs to race, but was forced to concede ground in the process. Spun widest into the stretch, Agate Road was up into third and looking a bit one-paced at the eighth pole, but began to zero in on the Spirit Prince a few strides thereafter and did his best work through the wire. Fulmineo (Bolt d'Oro) knifed through late for second ahead of the dead-heating Liam's Journey (Liam's Map) and Spirit Prince.

A claim of foul by Fulmineo's jockey Flavien Prat against the winner was ultimately denied and the result allowed to stand. Owing to an apparent toteboard malfunction, the numbers of the third and fourth home flashed erroneously.

Agate Road was to make his career debut on the turf at Saratoga Aug. 5, stayed in when it was washed onto a fast main track and finished well to just miss. Getting his chance on the grass Sept. 2, the bay raced near the back of the pack in a paceless race, was seven deep into the lane, was forced out by a drifting rival in upper stretch and motored home to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

“Last time, he had too much to do and he still [got] there,” the winning jockey commented. “That gave me a lot of confidence. It was a beautiful trip and I just lose a couple lengths in the last turn and I was comfortable with that. I trust the trainer [Todd Pletcher]–he told me the horse was ready.”

The Pilgrim was originally scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 1, but when the rained-out Saturday program (minus the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic) was conducted Sunday, the Pilgrim was transferred to Wednesday, normally a dark day on the New York circuit.

Pedigree Notes:

The78th worldwide black-type winner and 38th graded/group winner for Quality Road, Agate Road is one of three winners from three to race out of Yellow Agate, a $70,000 Keeneland November weanling turned $210,000 KEESEP yearling purchase by China Horse Club who validated 13-10 favoritism in the GI Frizette S. in 2016. The mare is also responsible for Agate Road's year-older full-sister Plentitude, a maiden winner at first asking over the Tampa main track in April before taking an allowance sprinting over the Belmont turf course in June. She was most recently fourth in the Blue Sparkler S. at Monmouth July 8.

The dam of the yearling filly Gin's Beach Road (Quality Road), a $650,000 acquisition by Live Oak at last month's Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale, Yellow Agate aborted her Constitution foal of 2023 before being bred once again to Quality Road. China Horse Club campaigned Quality Road's champion daughter Abel Tasman.

 

 

 

Wednesday, Aqueduct
PILGRIM S.-GII, $200,000, Belmont The Big A, 10-4, 2yo, 1 1/16mT, 1:42.83, gd.
1–AGATE ROAD, 120, c, 2, by Quality Road
                1st Dam: Yellow Agate (GISW, $291,503), by
                                Gemologist
                2nd Dam: Lemon Sorbet, by Lemon Drop Kid
                3rd Dam: Flabbergasted (Ire), by Sadler's Wells
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. 'TDN Rising
Star' ($650,000 Ylg '22 KEESEP). O-Repole Stable & St. Elias
Stable; B-Chc Inc. (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher; J-Irad Ortiz, Jr.
$110,000. Lifetime Record: 3-2-1-0, $188,750.
Free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Fulmineo, 120, c, 2, Bolt d'Oro–Starr of Quality, by First
Dude. 1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE. ($90,000
Ylg '22 FTSAUG). O-Starlight Racing & Grier, Mark B.;
B-Country Life Farm & Starr of Quality LLC (MD); T-Arnaud
Delacour. $40,000.
(DH) 3–Spirit Prince, 118, c, 2, Cairo Prince–Dottie's Spirit, by
Curlin. ($110,000 Ylg '22 KEESEP). O-Oakwood Stables (Daniel
Burke), Krase, Scott D., Donarra Thoroughbreds, LLC, Beitz,
Kenneth G. & Beitz, Gail P.; B-Ben & Rebekah Henley & Jim
Gray (KY); T-Christophe Clement. $18,000.
(DH) 3–Liam's Journey, 118, c, 2, Liam's Map–Lough Derg, by
Lemon Drop Kid. 1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE.
($45,000 Ylg '22 KEESEP; $49,000 RNA 2yo '23 EASMAY).
O-Robyn Kaiser; B-Ann Marie Farm (KY); T-Michael J. Maker.
$18,000.
Margins: 1 1/4, NK, 2 3/4, 2 3/4. Odds: 2.45, 8.00, 4.90, 19.20.
Also Ran: Triple Espresso, B D Saints, Tifareeh, Get Spooled. Scratched: Tropandhagen.
Click for the Equibase.com chart or the TJCIS.com PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by FanDuel TV.

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