Quality Road: Grade 1 winner was bred and raced by Edward EvansPICTURE: Jessie Holmes/EquiSport photos
Death of prominent breeder Edward Evans
EDWARD Evans, breeder of multiple Grade 1 winner Quality Road as well as the controversial 1986 Cheveley Park Stakes winner Minstrella, died on Friday at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York following a brief illness. He was 68.
Evans, who was the former chairman of Macmillan Publishing, bred over 100 stakes winnersat his Spring Hill Farm in Virginia, purchased in 1969.
Much of his early success as a breeder stemmed from foundation mare Flight Dancer, the dam of Grade 2 stakes winner Misty Gallore who later produced successful sire Silver Ghost,and 1986 champion Irish two-year-old filly Minstrella.
Charlie Nelson trained Minstrella, a daughter of The Minstrel who carried Evans' colours to victory in the Phoenix Stakes and Moyglare Stud Stakes, in which she turned the tables on her Cherry Hinton Stakes conqueror, Forest Flower, by a head.
The pair met for a third time in the Cheveley Park Stakes, with Forest Flower coming out on top by two lengths. Yet despite the authority of her victory, the Tony Ives-ridden filly had to survive a lengthy stewards enquiry after bumping Minstrella two furlongs out.
Evans and Nelson appealed against the decision of the Newmarket stewards and following a further enquiry at Portman Square, Minstrella was awarded the race and Forest Flower placed last; at the time, rules stipulated that a horse could be disqualified following interference of any nature and the appeal panel governed that Ives was guilty of a riding offence which prompted such action.
Minstrella went on to produce 11 winners for Evans including Grade 3 winner Minidar, the dam of this year's Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes winner A Little Warm.
In all, Evans bred or raced 13 Group or Grade 1 winners including US Horse of the Year Saint Liam, Summer Colony, Gygistar and Yonaguska.
Although the bulk of his bloodstock was based in Virginia, Evans enjoyed a close association with Lane's End Farm in Kentucky, starting through the 1981 Kentucky Derby winner Pleasant Colony, who was bred by his father, Thomas Mellon Evans. Pleasant Colony was moved to Lane's End from the family's Buckland Farm upon the death of Evans senior in 1997, where he stood until his retirement from stud duty in 2000. Quality Road will stand his first season at the farm this year.
Todd Pletcher trained Quality Road, bred out of Evans' $1.05 million purchase Kobla, to win eight races for Evans including the Florida Derby, Donn Handicap, Woodward Stakes and Metropolitan Handicap.
Evans was honoured as the 2009 Breeder of the Year by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders' Association.