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Elusive Quality back
in Kentucky Derby spotlight

Saturday: Gulfstream Park: Florida Derby (G1) 9f

QUALITY ROAD (c Elusive Quality - Kobla)

THE Jim Jerkens-trained Quality Road dented the Derby aspirations of Todd Pletcher's highly regarded Dunkirk in style on Saturday when turning in an impressive performance to take the Florida Derby by one and three-quarter lengths.

His sire, Elusive Quality, is no stranger to Classic success having sired Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Smarty Jones in his second crop.

Consequently, Elusive Quality's fee was doubled to $100,000 for the 2005 season. Quality Road hails from the stallion's first book of mares covered at that price.

Quality Road is the fifth northern hemisphere Group/Grade 1 winner by the son of Gone West following Smarty Jones, last season's Breeders' Cup Classic winner Raven's Pass, Prix Morny winner Elusive City (from his first crop) and Ballerina Stakes heroine Maryfield.

Seasons spent at Darley's Aberdeen base in Australia also produced the Group 1 winner Camarilla.

Elusive Quality is standing this season for $75,000 at Darley at Jonabell in Kentucky.

Bought back by breeder Edward Evans after bidding stalled at $110,000 at the Keeneland September Sale, Quality Road is out of the unplaced Kobla, for whom Edwards paid $1.05m at the 1999 Keeneland November Sale on account of her impressive connections.

The daughter of Strawberry Road, who traces directly to the influential mare Myrtlewood, is a sister to the 1997 US champion three-year-old filly Ajina and a daughter of the Grade 2-placed Winglet.

In addition, she shares her granddam, the Irish champion two-year-old Highest Trump, with the Group 1 miler Bahri and Grade 1-placed Nothing But Fun.

This is also the further family of Grade 1 winners April Dawn and Tudor Queen.

However, Quality Road is surprisingly only the second winner out of Kobla following Mt Kobla (Mt Livermore), herself the dam of this season's impressive juvenile winner King Ledley.

Kobla has a yearling filly by Tale Of The Cat.

 

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