Grade 2 winner Iliad has been sold and will enter stud this year as the property of an Alberta partnership. The 4-year-old son of Ghostzapper —Little Swoon, by You and I, will stand at Battle River Stud near Camrose for CAN$3,500.
Iliad raced for Kaleem Shah, who bought him for $285,000 at the 2016 Ocala Breeders' Sales' March 2-year-olds in training sale. Trained by Bob Baffert, who signed for the ridgling at the Ocala Breeders' Sales, Iliad broke his maiden by 3 1/2 lengths at Los Alamitos Race Course in December of his juvenile year. In his first start at 3, he captured the San Vicente Stakes (G2) by 3 1/2 lengths while beating eventual grade 1 winner Battle of Midway . Iliad then finished second in the San Felipe Stakes (G2) to Mastery but defeated Gormley , who took the Santa Anita Derby (G1) in his next start. Iliad was unplaced in the Santa Anita Derby and was retired with a 2-1-0 record in five starts and earnings of $247,345 soon after because of an ankle injury.
"We don't have much fresh blood here, which makes it tough to improve the quality," said Brad Auger, who co-owns Iliad and Battle River Stud with Chris Duggan and trainer Greg Tracy. "Everything about this horse fits well up here."
Iliad is a half brother to multiple graded stakes winner Melmich (by Wilko), who won or placed in 13 black-type stakes at Woodbine. Melmich scored three consecutive victories from 2015-17 in the OLG/OR Elgin Stakes Presented by Bear Stables. He also won the Valedictory Stakes, Dominion Day Stakes (twice), and Durham Cup Stakes (all G3).
British Columbia offers an incentive for Canadian breeders to import mares by paying half the cost of any mare bought for $20,000 or less provided the resulting foal is sold at a British Columbia auction.
"This is a great incentive but breeders need something to breed back to," Auger said, adding that Battle River Stud is offering to cover some shipping costs to make Iliad even more enticing to B.C. breeders. The farm has already booked 31 mares to Iliad, including 12 from B.C., according to Auger.
The partners also going all-in on Iliad, having brought back to Alberta the 15 mares they previously boarded in Central Kentucky. Their mares include Miss Metropolitan, a stakes-placed winner of Leroidesanimaux and whose dam is a full sister to multiple grade 3 winner True Metropolitan.
Auger expects Iliad to breed 40-45 mares this year.