Top Darley sire Elusive Quality (Gone West–Touch of Greatness, by Hero's Honor), who was pensioned from stud duties in June 2017, was euthanized Wednesday due to the infirmities of old age. He was 25.
“Elusive Quality represented so many things to so many people,” said Dan Pride, COO of Godolphin America. “He was one of Sheikh Mohammed's early racing successes here in the US and he then was the second stallion to stand for him in America with Quiet American being the first. His son Smarty Jones won the Derby and captured the hearts of a nation. And to the team here at Jonabell, he was just a pleasure to be around and he's going to be greatly missed.”
Runner-up in the 1996 GII King's Bishop S., Elusive Quality broke the track record at Gulfstream when winning a seven-furlong allowance on the main track in 1:20 flat in 1997. The following year he broke the world record for a mile on the turf, stopping the clock in 1:31.63 in the 1998 GIII Poker H. at Belmont, which he won by six lengths in front-running fashion. The Bill Mott trainee also won that year's GIII Jaipur H. and retired at the end of his 5-year-old season with a record of 20-9-3-2 and earnings of $413,284.
Standing his first season for Sheikh Mohammed at Gainsborough Farm in 1999, Elusive Quality was relocated to Jonabell in 2006 when Sheikh Mohammed's brother Sheikh Maktoum, who owned Gainsborough, passed away. The bay proved his worth as a sire right away, producing French Group 1 winner and champion Elusive City in his first crop. His second crop proved just as talented thanks to a pair of American champions in 2004: popular GI Kentucky Derby and GI Preakness S. hero Smarty Jones and GI Breeders' Cup F/M Sprint winner Maryfield.
Elusive Quality's other top offspring include Darley stallion and GI Breeders' Cup Classic hero Raven's Pass; champions Elusive Kate and Certify; and four-time Grade I winner Quality Road, who has proven to be a talented sire in his own right with 2017 champions Abel Tasman and Caledonia Road to his credit. The Jonabell stalwart shuttled to Australia from 2003 to 2008, where he was represented by champion and successful young sire Sepoy and Group 1 winner Camarilla. He also traveled to Brazil from 2009 to 2011, siring two champions and several Group 1 winners.
Overall, Elusive Quality sired 130 black-type winners and 52 graded or group winners, with 14 of those winning at the Grade I/Group 1 level. As a broodmare sire, he has 73 black-type winners with 29 graded/group winners and six top-level scorers, including champion and GI Breeders' Cup Sprint victory Roy H (More Than Ready).
“I think we'll continue to see Elusive Quality's influence felt for quite some time especially through the likes of successful sons like Quality Road as well as through his stakes-producing daughters,” Pride said.
Bred in Kentucky by Silver Springs Stud Farm and Mrs. J. Costelloe, Elusive Quality is a half-brother to Irish Highweight Rossini (Miswaki). His second dam is GSW and MGISP Ivory Wand (Sir Ivor), who produced German and Italian champion and MG1SW Gold and Ivory (Key to the Mint).