March 7, 2016
A few weeks ago, the TDN’s Bill Oppenheim reported that, “QUALITY ROAD, [the] Leading North American freshman sire of 2014 … has roared back as the leading NA/EU third-crop sire of 2016.”
This past weekend, QUALITY ROAD continued on his blistering run, launching himself on the National Top 10 List with his 2016 earnings already at $1.18 million. That’s nearly twice what the Third-Crop #2 Sire Munnings has in ’16 earnings.
The highlight came with his 4-year-old son Blofeld’s triumphant return to graded company in the G2 Gulfstream Park H. Bred by Keats Grove Farm, Blofeld had completed an unbeaten 2-year-old season with victories in the G2 Futurity and G2 Nashua S. After an interrupted sophomore campaign, he got back on track Saturday with a gutsy score for the Todd Pletcher barn. Blofeld beat two Lane’s End Sales grads in the process, the Pletcher-trained Stanford and the $500,000 KEESEP yearling Valid.
“We were expecting a big performance from him,” Pletcher said. “I thought he got a race off the layoff, so we were looking for a big effort from him. It’s nice to see him get back to the form we knew he was capable of.”
The hits didn’t stop there for QUALITY ROAD. In fact, he had two first-out maiden special winners at Aqueduct on the same day. In the card’s opener, his 3-year-old son Joy Drive won at first asking in a $58,000 event going six furlongs. A $400,000 2yo purchase by trainer Linda Rice for Lady Sheila Stable and partners, Joy Drive set a pressured pace and asserted gamely for the half-length score.
Two races later, QUALITY ROAD’s 3-year-old filly Five Star Rampage earned her diploma with a stylish 4 3/4-length win at the same distance. Bet down to 3-5 favoritism in a $55,000 test, the $175,000 FTSAUG yearling from the family of Tiznow made easy work of her competition on the front end. She was bred by Sequel Thoroughbreds and JMJ Racing and trained by Jimmy Jerkens.
QUALITY ROAD also has two exciting 3-year-old colts going for him, including the recent G3 El Camino Real Derby winner Frank Conversation and the Miracle Wood S. winner Marengo Road.