Spring Quality, a lightly-raced five-year-old, sprung a 12-1 upset in Saturday’s $200,000 Red Smith (G3) at Aqueduct for owner-breeder George Strawbridge, trainer Graham Motion, and Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado.
A tracking second behind longshot Memories of Peter through splits of :26:01, :51.08, 1:16:95, and 1:42.47, Spring Quality seized control in upper stretch of the 1 3/8-mile, firm-turf test and held off a late rally between rivals from Call Provision to win by a half-length.
“He was moving easy,” Prado said. “I didn’t push him early; he just took me for a ride through the first part. When we passed the three-eighths pole, I asked him and he gave me a little more. Just keep him going. He’s a big horse, he’s got a long stride, and that helps him in the stretch.”
Sent off at 12-1 in the field of 10, Spring Quality returned $27.20. The running time was 2:17.72.
Get Jets, a 5-1 chance, won a three-way photo for third by a nose over 17-10 favorite Money Multiplier, with Memories of Peter another nose behind in fifth. The order of finish was rounded out by Messi, Soluble, Oscar Nominated, Hunter O’Riley, and Tricked Up.
A debut winner at Keeneland at age two in October 2014, Spring Quality was out of action until March 2016, when he captured an allowance at Tampa Bay Downs. Another long spell ensued, and he went unplaced in his first two starts of this term in February and April.
Back in the winner’s circle following a Preakness Day allowance win at Pimlico, Spring Quality next entered the stakes ranks winning the $104,000 Robellino at Penn National and then finishing second by a neck in the $117,000 Roanoke at Parx. Both races were restricted to Pennsylvania-breds.
Spring Quality preceded this win with a fourth-place effort in the October 9 Knickerbocker (G2) at Belmont Park at odds of nearly 24-1. It was his first appearance on turf. His record now stands at 9-5-2-0, $295,797.
“This horse is very talented,” Motion said. “I probably shouldn’t have waited so long to run him on the grass, but he always handled the dirt well, and being by Quality Road, I didn’t want to make him into a grass horse, but I have always had a suspicion that this is what he wanted to do at the end of the day. I think he can run in the big races next year.”
A gelded son of Quality Road, Spring Quality is out of the Deputy Minister mare Spring Star, making him a half-brother to two-time Sycamore (G3) winner Holiday Star. Spring Quality’s second dam was multiple Grade 2 winner Alice Springs, and his third dam was Grade 1 heroine First Approach.