Taking the High Road

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Quality Road | Lee Thomas

By John Boyce

The essence of Quality Road the racehorse was his uncompromising speed at distances short of a mile-and-a-quarter. His 121 Beyer winning the 9-furlong Donn at Gulfstream Park, when he lowered his own track record set a year earlier winning the GI Florida Derby, has not been bettered since at distances beyond a mile. In fact he was so brilliant that he recorded triple-digit Beyers in as many as 11 of his 13 career starts.

Retired to Lane’s End at a fee of $35,000, Quality Road has established himself as the best sire son of Elusive Quality and demonstrated his sire power recently, siring Grade I winners Able Tasman and Spring Quality on the Belmont Stakes card. His ratio of stakes winners to runners currently stands at 9.2%, which fairly reflects what his mare quality suggested he should achieve–and something that most sires fail to do. Looking at the Gone West sire line, we find that Quality Road has only Speightstown (11.7%), Speightstown’s son Munnings (10.7%) and Zafonic (10.1%) ahead of him–and he’s easily outscoring his own father who has sired 7.6% stakes winners to runners from his northern hemisphere foals.

But those percentages don’t tell the whole story about Quality Road’s excellent start at stud. A more accurate reflection of his brilliance can be seen from his Grade I winner count. From his first four crops, he’s sired a remarkable eight Grade I winners in North America, which is a pretty rare feat. Only four stallions since Graded racing commenced in 1973 have done better with their first four crops in North America. And among current American sires, only Tapit had more at that stage. Just look at the list of exceptional sires whose numbers he’s eclipsing: Candy Ride, Curlin, Empire Maker, Ghostzapper and Medaglia d’Oro. Quality Road–just as he did as a racehorse–is setting a searing pace as a stallion.

 

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