Interesting Patterns Abound in Elusive Quality's Latest String of Stakes Winners

A sire who has been on fire of late is Elusive Quality (TrueNicks,SRO) . The month started well when Quality Road returned to from the injury that sidelined him from the classics to take the 6½ furlong Amsterdam Stakes (gr. II) in a new track-record. Six days later, on August 9, Elusive Heat (a daughter of Xtra Heat, and a Pedigree Consultants recommended mating) took the Geyser Spring Stakes at Saratoga, running six furlongs in 1:08.93.

Since then, the pace has really picked up. The most recent weekend saw Native Ruler capture the Prairie Meadows Sprint on Saturday, and Elusive Horizon capture the Emerald Distaff Handicap on Sunday. On Tuesday, Elusive Pimpernel stamped himself as an up-and-coming juvenile with a win in the Acomb Stakes (gr. III) at York, and finally, on Wednesday, the speedy three-year-old filly Starfish Bay led all the way in the 5½ furlong From New York to Old Yor Stakes at Saratoga. That adds up to six stakes winners for the month, five in the space of ten days, and the last four in just five days. With Raven's Pass to represent him last year, it is beginning to look as if Elusive Quality is beginning to respond well to the better mares his bright start brought him (after his first four crops were sired at $10,000). If he stays at his 2009 fee of $75,000, he'll look very good value for top-quality mares in 2010.

Quality Road (TrueNicks A++) owns a particularly interesting pedigree with both Elusive Quality's maternal grandsire, Hero's Honor, and Whiskey Road (sire of Quality Road's maternal grandsire, Strawberry Road) combining Northern Dancer and the important mare Flower Bowl. Elusive Quality's sire, Gone West, and Winglet, the granddam of Quality Road, are both Raise a Native/Bold Ruler cross, with the Raise a Native through genetic relatives Mr. Prospector and Alydar. For good measure Winglet is not only from the same sire line as Mr. Prospector, but also the same female line. Native Ruler and Elusive Heat (both TrueNicks rated A++) are products of a similar cross, one out of a mare by Dixieland Band, and one out of a mare by his son, Dixieland Heat, giving Elusive Quality a total of five stakes winners out of Dixieland Band line mares.

Starfish Bay is another interesting one. She's out of the graded stakes winning Not For Love (TrueNicks,SRO) mare, Touch Love. Elusive Quality and Not For Love are both Mr. Prospector line horses out of Northern Dancer line mares, but that is not all. Elusive Quality's broodmare sire, Hero's Honor, goes back to La Troienne via the mare, Admiring, and she is very similarly-bred to another La Troienne descendent, Glamour, the fourth dam of Not For Love (Hero's Honor's dam, Glowing Tribute, has other similarities to Intriguing, the third dam of Not For Love). There have been only three starters on a Gone West/Not For Love cross, and two of them have taken stakes, Starfish Bay, and listed winner Great Love, who is by Elusive Quality's son, Great Notion, so this could be an emerging nick.

Elusive Pimpernel, who TrueNicks rates a B+ is out of a mare by Sadler's Wells, a horse who has been very solid under Gone West line stallions, including South African grade I winner Bad Girl Runs. Elusive Horizon is out of an Unbridled's Song mare who is a three-parts-sister to the ill-fated grade I winner Exogenous. The broad Gone West/Fappiano cross hasn't been hugely successful yet, but Unbridled's Song (TrueNicks,SRO) has graded winner Forest Music out of a Gone West mare, and his son, Songandaprayer (TrueNicks,SRO) , has graded winner Praying For Cash out of a mare by West By West, a son of Gone West, so the cross over Unbridled's Song mares may be one to watch. 

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