ELMONT, N.Y. — Spring Quality, a home-bred for the Augustin Stable of George Strawbridge, Jr. of Cochranville, Pa., stormed home to win the 117th running of the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Stakes on Belmont Day.
With Edgar Prado aboard the 6-year-old Pennsylvania-bred son of Quality Road from the Deputy Minister mare Spring Star, the Graham Motion trainee took the measure of 12 rivals in the 1-1/4 mile race on the Belmont inner turf course and came within a fraction in doing it in track record time.
Spring Quality stopped the timer in 1 minute, 58.58 seconds. The course record is Paradise Creek's 1:57.79 set in 1994.
The win for Spring Quality was his sixth from 11 lifetime starts that also includes three second place finishes. Strawbridge will collect $535,000 for Spring Quality's efforts. When added to his previous purse earnings, he is now the winner of over $860,000.
There was some doubt, however, before the tote system posted the monstrous prices paid by the carrier of Strawbridge's green and white colors.
The slo-mo replay system always favors the inside horses, When the slo-mo came up, it appeared Sadler's Joy, the place horse, Hi Happy, the show horse, or Manitoulin, the fourth place finisher, would be involved in the photos to sort out the placings. After a few seconds, that could have seemed like hours to the horse's connections, Spring Quality's head came up on the left side of the image on the infield board and the cognoscenti were able to nod their heads and say, “Yeah, it's the 13.”
The official margin was Spring Quality by a neck over Sadler's Joy who was a neck over Hi Happy.
The winner returned $38, $15.80 and $9.40 for $2 wagers in the win, place and show spots. A $2 exacta ticket on Spring Quality and Sadler's Joy was worth $310.50. The $2 trifecta of those two with Hi Happy paid $1,662. A $2 superfecta in which the bettor selects the first four horses in the correct order sent the holder to the Internal Revenue Service Window to collect $21,296 — before taxes.
After the race, Motion said, “I hated the post (position). But, he had a great trip. The one thing he had to do was save ground...He had to swing a little wide coming off the bend, but he's pretty special.”
The Manhattan win was the second straight for the Fair Hill, Md.-based Motion. He won the 2017 running with the 27 to 1 long-shot, Ascend.
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