‘He’s On A Tremendous Run’: Quality Road Has Career Performance On Keeneland September’s Opening Session

Over the course of Monday’s opening session of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, veteran sire Quality Road saw three offerings change hands for $1 million or more, including the $2.5 million session-topper.

The select Book 1 of the marathon sale is only half over, and the resident of Lane’s End has already had what might be his greatest high-end performance at Keeneland September to date.

His three horses that made it past the seven-figure threshold on Monday were the most of any sire on the day, and more than he has ever produced in a single Keeneland September sale. It also tied his personal best for million-dollar horses put through the ring over a single year in any sale, set last year.

Monday’s session-topper was also the most expensive yearling that Quality Road has ever sold at any auction. That transaction helped Quality Road lead all sires by average sale price during the opening day of trade, with nine horses averaging $886,111.

By practically any metric, Quality Road is on pace for a career-best performance in the sale ring, both during the Keeneland September sale in progress and the overall yearling season.

“He’s on a tremendous run,” said Bill Farish of Lane’s End. “I thought he stepped into the elite category last year, and really, he’s just continuing that on.”

As the head of Woodford Racing, Farish was part of the buyer group that secured Monday’s $2.5 million session-topper, along with Talla Racing and West Point Thoroughbreds.

The bay colt that drew their attention and bids was out of the G3-placed Latent Heat mare True Feelings, whose three foals to race are all winners, including stakes winner Feeling Mischief and G3-placed Royal Act.

The colt sold as property of Stonehaven Steadings, and he hailed from the family of champions Lookin at Lucky and Wait a While.

“He’s a really athletic colt with a tremendous walk,” Farish said. “I could watch him walk all day long. He wows you with that walk.”

On Monday, Quality Road also saw a filly out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Princess Silvia go to Claiborne Farm, agent, for $1.2 million, and a colt out of the Dixie Union mare Checkupfromzneckup sell to B C Stables for $1.15 million.

The breeding season of 2022 marked Quality Road’s 11th at stud, all at Lane’s End, but his path to the upper echelon of commercial sires was not quite a linear one.

Though he got off the mark quickly with a Breeders’ Cup winner from his first crop – 2014 Juvenile Turf winner Hootenanny – breeders were hesitant to declare Quality Road a made man as he worked through the doldrums that can hamper a stallion’s momentum during his third through sixth books. In those seasons, a stallion hopes to build a resume with young runners, but he might not yet have a big enough body of work to earn the commercial market’s trust.

At his lowest point in 2016, the median yearling sale price for a fourth-crop Quality Road yearling was $55,000 from 46 sold.

Quality Road’s share value was a topic of debate amongst his ownership syndicate around this time, but Robert “Shel” Evans, brother of the stallion’s late racetrack owner and breeder Edward P. Evans, urged steadfastness. The market caught up after Abel Tasman won the Kentucky Oaks and earned the Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old filly, and the shareholders have been reaping the dividends of their faith since then.

In five years, Quality Road’s median yearling price went from his all-time low in 2016 to a personal best of $500,000 from 44 sold in 2021.

Farish said that patient support from breeders who were willing to figure out what made the best Quality Road offspring, both for the racetrack and sales ring, was crucial in helping the stallion weather the lean years and thrive in today’s market.

“I’d like to take a lot of credit for it, but the breeders are quick studies, and the people that have supported him all along have adjusted the way they breed to him,” Farish said. “He’s really rewarded them.”

After putting nine yearlings through the ring during Monday’s session, Quality Road has 12 youngsters scheduled for the second and final session of Keeneland September’s Book 1 on Tuesday. He has 50 total yearlings cataloged throughout the entire sale.

The post ‘He’s On A Tremendous Run’: Quality Road Has Career Performance On Keeneland September’s Opening Session appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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