WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International and SF Racing's Oaklawn Handicap (Grade II) winner Quip is at Keeneland preparing for a start in the $600,000 Stephen Foster presented by GE Appliances (GII) on June 15, and trainer Rodolphe Brisset believes the son of Distorted Humor could be on track for a strong 4-year-old campaign.
“Since we gave him six months off after the Preakness, he's really changed and matured,” Brisset said. “We really had to crank on him last year to get him ready for the Triple Crown races but once we backed off him, you could really tell a difference. We got him back and he's grown and become a new horse. I think we could set ourselves up for a big second half of the year leading into the Breeders' Cup Classic (GI). The older horse division is pretty wide open and hopefully we can stamp ourselves as one of the top horses.”
Quip's 2019 campaign began with a third-place effort in the Feb. 23 Hal's Hope (GIII) at Gulfstream prior to besting Lone Sailor by a neck in the April 13 Oaklawn Handicap. The bay colt has recorded four workouts since including a five-furlong move in 1:02.20 on Monday.
“It may look like a slow time on paper but he kept galloping out,” Brisset said. “We timed him galloping out six furlongs in 1:13. If everything keeps going well, we will probably work him the Sunday after the Belmont Stakes (June 9) and send him to Churchill Monday afternoon to begin preparing for the race.”
Nominations for the Stephen Foster – a “Win and You're In” race for the Breeders' Cup Classic – close Saturday, June 1. Other known horses targeting the 1 1/8-mile race include Seeking the Soul and Yoshida (JPN).
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