11/06/2017 1:26PM

Mares owned by late Evans make impact at Breeders' Cup

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Emily Shields
Breeders' Cup Classic winner Gun Runner is out of the Grade 2-winning Giant’s Causeway mare Quiet Giant.

The pinnacle of the late Edward P. Evans’s experience with the Breeders’ Cup came when Saint Liam, a horse he bred, rallied four wide down the Belmont stretch to win the 2005 Classic.

The Virginia horseman died in December 2010, and his Spring Hill Farm’s roster was dispersed the following year to a record-setting reception at the Keeneland September and November sales, but this year’s Breeders’ Cup results were still covered with his fingerprints.

Nowhere was that more apparent than at the top, with Classic winner Gun Runner. The Candy Ride colt is out of the Grade 2-winning Giant’s Causeway mare Quiet Giant, who was the second-most-expensive broodmare of the Evans dispersal, going to Besilu Stables for $3 million. The half-sister to Saint Liam was a second-generation member of the Evans program.

Ben Leon, proprietor of Besilu Stables, sent the mare to Candy Ride the following season for the mating that produced Gun Runner.

Leon bought five Evans mares at the dispersal and kept in close contact with former Spring Hill Farm manager Chris Baker before and after the auction. Leon boarded his mares at WinStar Farm when Baker took a position there as general manager and later followed him to Three Chimneys Farm, where Baker is now chief operating officer.

Leon became friends and business partners with Three Chimneys chairman Goncalo Torrealba and sold Gun Runner to him as a yearling in a package deal. Winchell Thoroughbreds bought into the horse when he was 2.

Gun Runner will eventually retire to stud at Three Chimneys in Midway, Ky., putting him under the watch of Baker, who has managed his dam at Spring Hill Farm and Three Chimneys.

Also flying the Evans banner among the Breeders’ Cup winners was Caledonia Road, a daughter of Evans’s homebred Grade 1 winner and stallion Quality Road.

Quality Road, an 11-year-old son of Elusive Quality, stands at Lane’s End in Versailles, Ky., and is partially owned by the Edward P. Evans Foundation, which funds research and treatment for diseases including myelodysplastic syndrome. Half of Quality Road’s stud fees benefit the foundation, and he stood the 2017 breeding season for $35,000.

Abel Tasman, winner of this year’s Kentucky Oaks, also ran well for her sire, finishing second to Forever Unbridled in the Distaff.

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