With each passing year, there seems to be one or two hot freshman sires that pop on the Derby radar. It comes as no surprise to many that Quality Road’s first crop to race is not only looking good, but can run a little, as displayed by 2-for-2 Pletcher trainee Blofeld, who is now a two-time G2 winner following the Futurity Stakes in October and the Nashua Stakes last week.
Blofeld (Image courtesy of Lane’s End Farm)
Blofeld is likeable as a two-year-old, and one can be cautiously optimistic about his chances to progress as a three-year-old. Evenly raced and 3-for-3 as the distances grow, Blofeld graduated into the winner’s circle in his August 14 debut race at Saratoga, taking advantage of a tiring pacesetter to win by a length going 5 furlongs. El Kabeir, another promising colt, ran 3rd in his race before going on to break his own maiden impressively. Blofeld stretched out and stepped up in his next start in the Futurity (II) at Belmont, taking that 6-furlong event while facing pressure throughout, winning by ¾ length. Sealing off his two-year-old career, Blofeld completed the NYRA hat trick with a confident win in the 8-furlong Nashua (II) at Aqueduct, allowing El Kabeir to contest his own tall lead before passing him in the stretch, winning by 5 lengths. With many top Derby contenders starting– and winning– as two-year-olds before going on to attack the prize, the confident coolness of Blofeld makes him an even more attractive prospect as we turn the page to look at his pedigree.
From a pedigree standpoint, Blofeld is the latest product of the Storm Cat daughter assembly line which has produced standouts with speed like Bodemeister, Speightstown, Thunder Moccasin, Buffum, Dialed In, and Honor Code. Storm Minstrel was a stakes winner at ages 2 and 5 over shorter distances, getting plenty of speed from her dam Colonial Ministrel, who won over $500,000 and the G2 Shuvee going a mile to name just one of her graded wins. Colonial Ministrel’s female family links Blofeld to Jim Dandy (II) winner A Little Warm, graded stakes winning turf horse Pleasant Strike, and a horse that piqued my interest on last year’s Derby trail, Proud Strike. Blofeld’s sire, Quality Road, has tremendous promise judging by his looks and race record, including G1 wins at ages 3 and 4 in top races like the Woodward, Met Mile, Florida Derby, and Donn Handicap. His progeny to race have been eye-catching but few, although he already has a Breeders’ Cup winner with Juvenile Turf champion Hootenanny.