Tag: 2021 Belmont Stakes

Essential Quality (left) and Hot Rod Charlie separated themselves from their 3-year-old rivals at Saturday's Belmont Stakes. Both came out of the 1 1/2-mile race set for future summer contests. (Image: Al Bello/Getty)

Essential Quality, Hot Rod Charlie Ready For More After Belmont Stakes

Even after Hot Rod Charlie reeled off record early fractions, and even after Essential Quality caught and passed him in the stretch, both leading protagonists from Saturday’s Belmont Stakes came out of their 1 ½-mile “Test of the Champion” in fine form. “He looks amazing. It doesn’t look like he […]

Jockey Luis Saez won Saturday's Belmont Stakes for his first Triple Crown victory. He piloted 6/5 favorite Essential Quality to his third stakes win in 2021. (Image: Wendell Cruz/USA Today Sports)

Essential Quality Seizes His Moment, Wins 2021 Belmont Stakes

As the 153rd Belmont Stakes hit its stretch crescendo, Essential Quality would not be denied. At the end of this Triple Crown season, Essential Quality would not be denied his Triple Crown race victory. He would not be denied his place in history and trainer Brad Cox would not be […]

Hot Rod Charlie hit the board in his last five races: two wins, a second and two thirds. Four of those came in graded stakes races, making him a legitimate Belmont Stakes threat. (Image: Benoit Photo)

Back to Being a Real Test: Breaking Down the 2021 Belmont Stakes

The 153rd Belmont Stakes wraps up an unpredictable 2021 Triple Crown season with what should be the best race of the three for horseplayers. If 12/1 Medina Spirit winning the Kentucky Derby was a shock to the handicapper’s system, what was 11/1 Rombauer winning the Preakness Stakes? Two horses considered […]

Essential Quality's Blue Grass Stakes wire victory over Highly Motivated was the Champion 2-Year-Old's fifth consecutive win. After finishing fourth in the Kentucky Derby, the colt seeks to rebound as the 2/1 morning-line favorite in the 153rd Belmont Stakes. (Image: Kentuckyderby.com)

Essential Quality Returns to Triple Crown Trail as Belmont Stakes Favorite

Essential Quality duplicated the favorite status he enjoyed for the Kentucky Derby five weeks ago, taking 2/1 morning-line favorite odds into Saturday’s 153rd Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park. Tuesday morning’s Belmont Stakes draw put the Brad Cox-trained, Tapit progeny in post 2. He’s one of four Grade 1 winners and […]

Essential Quality gives Eclipse Award-winning trainer Brad Cox a wonderful opportunity to win his first Triple Crown race. He's the 2/1 morning-line favorite for Saturday's Belmont Stakes. (Image: Charlie Riedel/AP Photo)

Could Essential Quality Close Triple Crown Hole in Cox’s Resume?

For Brad Cox, is Essential Quality the final piece of the Triple Crown race puzzle? First, there was Owendale’s third in the 2019 Preakness Stakes. Then, there was Mandaloun finishing second in the 2021 Kentucky Derby. Can Essential Quality give Cox his first American Classic victory in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes? […]

UAE Derby winner Rebel's Romance won't run the Belmont Stakes due to a hind-leg infection. (Image: Coady Photography)

Rebel’s Romance, Keepmeinmind Exit Belmont, Field Likely Down to Eight

The Belmont Stakes looks like it will be a tight-knit affair with just eight horses entering the starting gate after connections for Rebel’s Romance announced on Tuesday that the gelding will miss Saturday’s race due to a hind-leg infection. Rebel’s Romance’s owner, Godolphin, posted the news about the UAE Derby […]

With no Charlatan in the gate, Knicks Go becomes a likely favorite for the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on the June 5 Belmont Stakes undercard. (Image: Coady Photography)

Cox Calls a New Play for Knicks Go — The Met Mile

Even Brad Cox understands how the avoid Bob Baffert game is played, which explains why he moved his star older horse, Knicks Go, to the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap. That June 5 race is the first-among-equals Grade 1 on the Belmont Stakes undercard. Cox originally targeted Knicks Go for the […]

The 153rd Belmont Stakes anchors three of NYRA's six, two-day special wagers Belmont Stakes weekend at Belmont Park. (Image Chelsea Durand/NYRA)

NYRA Offers Wagering Menu Smorgasbord for Belmont Stakes Weekend

The New York Racing Association unveiled its wagering menu for the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, headlined by a two-day Pick 6 that begins Friday, June 4, and ends with the 153rd Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 5. The NYRA’s wagering menu includes six, two-day wagers incorporating many of the Belmont […]

With his Kentucky Derby-champion mount Medina Spirit out, John Velazquez will ride Rombauer in the June 5 Belmont Stakes. (Image: AP File Photo)

Velazquez Takes Rombauer’s Reins for the Belmont, No Midnight Bourbon

With no Medina Spirit, Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will take Rombauer’s reins for the June 5 Belmont Stakes. The Daily Racing Form reported that trainer Mike McCarthy grabbed Velazquez’s services for the Belmont. He’ll take the reins from Flavien Prat, who returned to the horse he rode in […]

If Flavien Prat celebrates after the Belmont, he'll do it on a different horse than Preakness winner Rombauer. Prat takes the reins of Hot Charlie for the Belmont Stakes. He rode Hot Rod Charlie in the Kentucky Derby. (Image: Patrick Smith/Getty)

Belmont Musical Jockeys: Prat Trades Rombauer for Hot Rod Charlie

Trainer Doug O’Neill, who proved his nimbleness by quickly securing Flavien Prat’s jockey services for the Kentucky Derby, proved them once again for the Belmont Stakes. He said Prat will ride the Derby’s third-place runner in the June 5 Belmont Stakes. That, of course, means Michael McCarthy needs to find […]

Malathaat, seen here gaining on her Kentucky Oaks rivals, won't do the same against the boys in the Belmont Stakes. She needs to eat extra oat buckets to gain weight for the summer campaigns. (Image: Churchill Downs/Coady Photography)

Undefeated Malathaat Won’t Tease the Boys in the Belmont Stakes

Without a Triple Crown storyline, race fans were salivating at the prospect of filly Malathaat jumping into the Belmont Stakes pool and tangling with the boys in the final jewel of the Triple Crown. But connections for the undefeated filly said Tuesday she will pass up the Belmont. Instead, the […]

Trainer Bob Baffert's travails continued Monday, when the New York Racing Association suspended him from racing at any of its Thoroughbred tracks. (Image: Luke Sharrett/Getty)

NYRA Temporarily Suspends Trainer Bob Baffert From its Tracks

Adding to the fallout from Kentucky Derby champion Medina Spirit’s post-Derby positive medication test, the New York Racing Association temporarily suspended Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert from entering horses for any of the association’s races. The ban extends to Baffert horses occupying stall space at Belmont Park, Aqueduct Racetrack, […]

Midnight Bourbon could be one of only two horses to run all three 2021 Triple Crown races.(Image: AP Photo)

Belmont Stakes Field Remains in Flux as Connections Ponder Options

While the Belmont Stakes field remains an early work in progress, several trainers with possible sights on the final jewel of the Triple Crown have either indicated interest or put their horses through workouts with that June 5 race in mind. The Belmont Stakes field of possibles starts with Kentucky […]

Rombauer trainer Mike McCarthy, jockey Flavien Prat and owners John and Diane Fradkin hoist the Woodlawn Vase replica after Rombauer's Preakness Stakes victory Saturday. The colt heads to Belmont Park for a likely date in the June 5 Belmont Stakes. (Image: AP Photo/Will Newton)

Rombauer Comes out of Preakness Well, Belmont Stakes Likely Next

While Rombauer’s trainer, Mike McCarthy, headed west back to his California base, his newly minted Preakness Stakes champion left Pimlico Race Course early Monday morning for a northerly destination. That destination? New York’s Belmont Park. “We will go ahead and go to Belmont. We will get there and see how […]

Kentucky Derby favorite Essential Quality won't run the Preakness Stakes. He's pointed toward the June 5 Belmont Stakes and eventually the Aug. 18 Travers at Saratoga. (Image: Churchill Downs/Coady Photography)

Essential Quality, King Fury Passing On Preakness, Targeting Travers

Connections for Kentucky Derby favorite Essential Quality said Tuesday that they intend on skipping the Preakness Stakes and sending the Godolphin colt to the June 5 Belmont Stakes instead. The announcement first came on Steve Byk’s At The Races With Steve Byk radio show on Sirius/XM. Trainer Brad Cox told […]

Between them, Todd Pletcher (left) and Bob Baffert own eight Kentucky Derby victories. Pletcher (45) and Baffert (23) have the most Triple Crown early nominated horses for 2021. (Image: Doug Engle/AP File)

Essential Quality Leads 326-Strong Triple Crown Nomination Parade

Getting your horse a Triple Crown nomination used to be so simple that connections to this year’s 3-year-old hopefuls nominated 326 horses to compete in the three American Classic races this spring. Those 326 nominations represent a slight, 6.1% dip from last year’s 347 early nominees. Those connections paid $600 […]