Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Jace's Road

December 27th, 2022

Jace’s Road couldn’t have been much more impressive in the Gun Runner S. on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. The bay colt led all the way and drew off down the homestretch to dominate by 5 1/2 lengths.

A fifth placing in the Southwest (G3) and a third-place finish in the Louisiana Derby (G2) subsequently put Jace's Road on the cusp of a Kentucky Derby (G1) start. Now handicappers are faced with a difficult question—does Jace’s Road have the pedigree to thrive racing 1 1/4 miles if he makes the starting gates?

Jace's Road Pedigree
Elusive Quality
Quality Road
Jace's Road
Silver Deputy
Out Post
Secret Wildcat

Jace’s Road is a son of Quality Road, a four-time Grade 1 winner racing one mile to 1 1/8 miles. Quality Road was known for his speed and faltered in all three of his attempts to negotiate 1 1/4 miles, and his progeny have trended in a similar direction. A few have succeeded running 1 1/4 miles on turf, including Manhattan (G1) winner Spring Quality and New York (G1) heroine Bleecker Street, but on dirt they’ve proven best racing 1 1/8 miles or less, with Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Abel Tasman, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) hero Corniche, and Pegasus World Cup (G1) winner City of Light among the best.

Similar tendencies can be found in the bottom half of Jace’s Road’s pedigree. His dam is Out Post, a tried-and-true sprinter whose three victories and two stakes placings came over distances from five furlongs to six furlongs. Her first winning foal, the Candy Ride colt Isolated, likewise proved best sprinting, with victories over 5 1/2 furlongs and 6 1/2 furlongs.

Out Post is a daughter of Silver Deputy, who won a maiden special weight and the 6 1/2-furlong Swynford S. as a juvenile before retiring with an unblemished (but largely untested) 2-for-2 record. Given a chance at stud, Silver Deputy enjoyed a successful career highlighted by two-time champion and Hall of Fame inductee Silverbulletday.

Silverbulletday won the Alabama (G1) racing 1 1/4 miles on dirt, and Silver Deputy’s Stephen Foster H. (G1) winner Pool Play nabbed the Hawthorne Gold Cup (G2) over 1 1/4 miles, so Silver Deputy has proven capable of passing on stamina. But overall, his progeny have won at an average distance of 6.9 furlongs, and a tendency toward speed is evident in Silver Deputy’s record as a broodmare sire.

Indeed, Silver Deputy’s daughters are best known for foaling Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) winners Groupie Doll and Wavell Avenue plus the talented turf miler Heart to Heart and 1 1/8-mile Haskell H. (G1) winner Roman Ruler. An exception to the speed trend is Japanese classic winner Oken Bruce Lee, winner of the Kikuka Sho (G1) over 1 7/8 miles, but Oken Bruce Lee achieved his signature success on turf rather than dirt.

Putting all of these influences together, Jace’s Road certainly has the pedigree to race 1 1/8 miles, and sometimes that’s enough for a talented horse to negotiate 1 1/4 miles in the Kentucky Derby. But we have to acknowledge that 1 1/4 miles is probably a furlong farther than the distance at which Jace’s Road is bred to truly excel.

Further Analysis on Jace's Road