Lane's End's preeminent sire Quality Road passed a significant milestone May 20 when his son National Treasure became his first American Classic winner in the Preakness Stakes (G1).
Progeny by the 17-year-old son of Elusive Quality, bred and raced by the late Edward "Ned" Evans, have been a force in North America's premier races since they first appeared at the track in 2014. Of the sire's 72 black-type winners to date, 34 are graded/group winners and these elite runners include 15 grade 1 winners.
Quality Road previously had a stronger presence in the 3-year-old filly division. His daughter Abel Tasman won the Kentucky Oaks (G1), Acorn Stakes (G1), and Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) on her way to earning Eclipse honors as champion 3-year-filly for 2017. The next year Bellafina included the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) among her three graded stakes for the season. In 2019, he had a son make an impact along the Triple Crown trail when Roadster won the Santa Anita Derby (G1) but unfortunately was unplaced in the Kentucky Derby (G1). Quality Road kept the momentum going with his sophomore fillies in 2019 led by Dunbar Road, who won the Alabama Stakes (G1) and helped the sire become the North American leader that year by number of grade 1 winners with four.
National Treasure, bred by Peter Blum, did not have a smooth trip on the road to this year's Derby with a third in the Sham Stakes (G3) and a fourth-place finish in the Santa Anita Derby. The six weeks of rest ahead of the Preakness, however, was exactly what the colt needed.
"We thought his Santa Anita Derby race—it was okay," said trainer Bob Baffert after Preakness. "But you could tell he was still green, figuring it out. ... We were hoping for something like this."
The mating of Quality Road to Blum's homebred Medaglia d'Oro mare Treasure also was what the owner/breeder had been hoping to see.
"This colt was a star, a really outstanding individual," said Blum, who sold National Treasure for $500,000 at Fasig-Tipton's Saratoga Sale, its select summer yearling sale, to agent Donato Lanni. "I thought he would bring more, but he got into good hands and that was more important to me."
Blum, who also bred 2020 Kentucky Derby winner Authentic , said he always had high expectations for Quality Road as a sire.
"I had horses with (trainer) Jimmy Jerkens, who had Quality Road initially, and he kept telling me what a super horse he would be, that he would be as good as any horse," Blum recalled. "I remembered that when he went to stud. I wound up buying eight seasons one year and got seven foals."
Since 2016, Blum has bred 11 foals by Quality Road that made it to the races. Of these 11, nine are winners and five are black-type performers. Treasure was bred back to Quality Road this year.
Quality Road now ranks second on the BloodHorse general leading sires list with nearly $6.9 million in progeny earnings behind Spendthrift Farm's marquee sire Into Mischief , who leads with nearly $10.5 million. Quality Road also ranks second by number of black-type winners with 10. He stands for $200,000.