When the votes were tallied for the 2021 Eclipse Award for 2-year-old male, Corniche was declared a runaway winner, with 214 votes compared to 12 for his nearest rival. This wide margin of success reflected the impressive nature of Corniche’s first season. His potential was so obvious when he breezed a furlong in :10 flat at the Ocala Breeders’ sale in April that his price soared to a sale-topping $1,500,000.
Corniche was to repay most of that outlay in winning his three two-year-old starts, starting with an easy win over 5½ furlongs at Del Mar in September. Less than four weeks later he had earned Gr.1-winner status, with a dominant display in the American Pharoah Stakes. Drawn 11 of 11 in the Gr.1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Corniche was fast enough to clear the field by the first turn and he maintained his speed throughout to remain unbeaten.
Corniche was bred to shine as his dam Wasted Tears was a six-time Graded stakes winner at up to a mile and an eighth during a 22-race career which yielded 12 wins. His sire Quality Road did even better, being out of the first two only twice in a 13-race career. Quality Road was versatile enough to set a track record over 6½ furlongs and two more over a mile and an eighth. He has done so well, with 13 Gr.1 winners in his early crops, that he achieved the highest average of any sire at the 2022 American yearling sales. His son City of Light also reached the top dozen, from a $40,000 fee.
Bearing in mind that recent winners of the Eclipse Award for 2-year-old male include Uncle Mo, American Pharoah, Nyquist and the promising Good Magic, Corniche can be expected to pass on his considerable ability. His pedigree allows him endless options. For example, his pedigree is free of such as A.P. INDY, TAPIT, CANDY RIDE, SMART STRIKE, CURLIN, DANZIG, WAR FRONT, STORM CAT, GIANT’S CAUSEWAY, MEDAGLIA D'ORO, INDIAN CHARLIE, AWESOME AGAIN and DISTORTED HUMOR, and he has only one line of MR PROSPECTOR, who will be in the fifth generation of his foals’ pedigrees.
Quality Road has enjoyed marked success with STORM CAT blood, siring Graded winners from daughters of STORM CAT, HENNESSY, TABASCO CAT and GIANT’S CAUSEWAY, while Gr.1 winner Klimt has a grandam by STORM CAT.
He has also thrived with daughters of DIXIE UNION, broodmare sire of three of his Gr.1 winners, including KLIMT.
Quality Road has Gr.1 winners out of grand-daughters of A.P. INDY, including two out of mares by BERNARDINI and another out of a MALIBU MOON mare.
DEPUTY MINISTER mares had two Gr.1 winners, including Champion Abel Tasman, among their small number of foals by Quality Road, who also sired the top-class City of Light from a mare by Deputy Minister’s son DEHERE.
Quality Road also owes two of his Gr.1 winners to grand-daughters of DANZIG, with Bleecker Street having a dam by EXCHANGE RATE and Illuminant being out of a POLISH NUMBERS mare.