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SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Godolphin homebred Essential Quality, last-out winner of the Belmont Stakes (G1) presented by NYRA Bets, breezed 5/8 in 1:01.81 on the Saratoga Race Course main track Saturday in preparation for the $600,000 Jim Dandy (G2), a 9-furlong test for sophomores on July 28.
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Trained by Brad Cox, the reigning Champion 2-Year-Old, with regular rider Luis Saez up, worked from the 1/2 in company with 3-year-old New York-bred maiden winner Bingo John, who was piloted by Manny Franco.
NYRA clockers caught Essential Quality in splits of 25, 48.3, 1:01.4, 1:14.2, and 1:28.3
“It was a solid move,” said Cox, the reigning Eclipse Award-winning trainer. “It looked like he stayed on well. We wanted to let him get a little blow out of this. He had a nice gallop out.”
Essential Quality Outlasts Hot Rod Charlie to Win Belmont Stakes
Following wins in the Grade 3 Southwest at Oaklawn in February and Grade 2 Blue Grass in April at Keeneland, Essential Quality finished fourth as the mutuel favorite in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby.
Essential Quality was a decisive winner of the 12-furlong Belmont Stakes, outdueling Hot Rod Charlie (who finished first but was disqualified to last for interference in Saturday’s Haskell (G1) at Monmouth Park) en route to a 1 1/4-length win.
The Tapit grey, out of the Elusive Quality mare Delightful Quality, has won 6 of 7 starts with purse earnings in excess of $3.2 million. A 5-time graded stakes winner, Essential Quality captured the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Keeneland in the final 2 starts of his 2-year-old campaign.
The talented colt will look to become only the 11th horse to win the Jim Dandy-Travers double, with the Mid-Summer Derby, the $1.25 Runhappy Travers (G1), slated for August 28 at Saratoga.
Cox said Essential Quality is thriving at Saratoga, where he has posted 2 works over the main track including a 1/2-mile in 50.44 last week.
“We have another work to come, but so far I’m happy with how everything is going,” said Cox. “From what we saw this morning, he’s doing very well.”
Essential Quality Overpowers Rivals in Juvenile
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