Already the sire of GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies heroine Caledonia Road, Lane’s End’s Quality Road looks to have another filly that can make some noise on the road to the 2018 GI Kentucky Oaks in the form of Gary Barber and John Oxley’s Road To Victory. Transitioning to the dirt on the heels of an impressive maiden success going seven furlongs over turf on Woodbine debut Oct. 1, the $25,000 Keeneland September yearling turned half-million-dollar OBS April breezer outgamed the previously unbeaten Monomoy Girl (Tapizar) to claim Saturday’s GII Golden Rod S. at Churchill Downs.
Drawn lower than her market rival, Monomoy Girl won the race to the first turn with Road To Victory following in her wake before being steered off the fence and into the two path to force the issue. The opening quarter was up in :23.81, not an overly taxing split, but Monomoy Girl was tugging against Florent Geroux as Julien Leparoux and Road To Victory remained glued to her saddle towel. The two put a gap between them and the rest of their field heading into the far turn and it was very much game on at the top of the lane. Momomoy Girl cut the corner into the stretch and looked like the one doing the better work passing the midstretch marker. But, racing with her head very high, she began to weave in and out and couldn’t close the deal as Road To Victory grabbed her in the dying stride. The final time was the fastest in this race since Rachel Alexandra (Medaglia d’Oro) clocked 1:43.08 en route to victory in the 2008 Golden Rod.
“We sat in the right spot throughout the race,” said Leparoux. “I didn’t want the leader to get too far away from us. She tried really hard and came back at the end. We felt she didn’t need the lead but relaxed in second. We knew the favorite would be on the lead and we just ran her down.”
The most expensive of her sire’s 19 juveniles to sell this season, Road To Victory is a maternal granddaughter of GSP Chaste, whose half-sister Giggly (Distorted Humor) is responsible for the track record-setting Japanese G1SW Moanin (Henny Hughes). Road To Victory’s Union Rags half-brother, a $50,000 KEEJAN purchase, was recently hammered down to L&N Racing for $130,000 at the Keeneland September sale. Favoritism was barren to the late City Zip for 2017.