Tag: Essential Quality

Racing milestones, standout horses, riders and trainers and a record handle. The 2021 Saratoga meet had it all this summer. (Image: Saratoga.com)

Saratoga Closes the Gates On a Record Handle, Memorable Moments

Saratoga cracked $800 million in all-sources wagering handle for the first time in its storied history, ending its most successful summer meet with $815,508,063 in all-sources handle. That represented a 15.6% increase over the track’s previous record of $705,343,949 set in 2019. Saratoga set its new record last Wednesday, with […]

Firenze Fire bit off more than he could chew, savaging Forego Stakes rival Yaupon in deep stretch. Yaupon survived the sudden savaging, winning as the 2/1 favorite. (Image: Skip Dickstein)

Essential Quality Leads Chalk Parade to Travers Day Winner’s Circle

On a chalky betting day where favorites beat a path to the Saratoga winner’s circle, the New York Racing Association announced an all-sources Travers Day handle of $51,381,515. That came from a paid crowd of 44,507, which generated an on-track handle of $9,406,526. This provided an obvious boost from last […]

Can anyone stop the runaway train that is Essential Quality? Six others try derailing the 4/5 favorite in Saturday's Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga. (Image: Joe Labozzetta/Coglianese Photos/NYRA)

The Travers: Can Anyone Catch History-Making Essential Quality?

Brad Cox and Essential Quality are simultaneously chasing Travers Stakes history and running from it at the same time. This counterintuitive feat illustrates Cox’s training prowess, Essential Quality’s running prowess, and the Travers’ recent prowess as a destroyer of favorites. Cox, who trains the prohibitive 4/5 favorite for Saturday’s headline […]

Essential Quality nipped Keepmeinmind to win last month's Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga. The two tangle again in Saturday's Travers Stakes, one of six Grade 1s on Saratoga's Saturday card. (Image: Susie Raisher/NYRA Photo)

Saturday at Saratoga: One of Racing’s Biggest Days of 2021

The names of those racing on Saturday’s Travers Day at Saratoga sound like a Thoroughbred all-star team: Essential Quality, Gamine, Letruska, Tribhuvan, Jackie’s Warrior, Life Is Good, Whitmore, Swiss Skydiver. All of them – and others you may have heard of – are set to run in one of Saratoga’s […]

Reigning Champion Turf Male Channel Maker will try giving trainer Bill Mott his record-setting fifth Bowling Green title in this week's finale of the Cross Country Pick 5. (Image: Janet Garaguso/NYRA Photo)

Cross Country Pick 5 Takes to the Stakes This Week

Four stakes races up and down the graded-stakes ladder highlight this week’s New York Racing Association Cross Country Pick 5. The horizontal exotic once again brings you races from Monmouth Park, Saratoga, and Canada’s Woodbine. The minimum bet for the three-track, five-race wager is 50 cents. The Cross Country Pick […]

Essential Quality hasn't raced since beating Hot Rod Charlie in the June 5 Belmont Stakes. He is the prohibitive favorite to win his fourth graded stakes race of 2021: the Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga. (Image: Adam Coglianese/NYRA)

Essential Quality Looks Like a Real Jim Dandy Favorite Here

Proving not all graded stakes winners are viewed equally, Saturday’s Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga features five graded stakes winners in the six-horse field. None of them are viewed through the prism of expectations as Essential Quality. The Belmont Stakes champion comes in as the 1/2 favorite in the […]

Masqueparade (10) held off King Fury to win the Grade 3 Ohio Derby in June. Can the talented, but untested colt, make the next leap in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes? (Image: JJ Zamaiko Photography)

Talented, Barely Tested Masqueparade Ready for His Jim Dandy Close-Up

Masqueparade is a graded-stakes winner who impressively captured his last three races, turned away two Kentucky Derby horses, and who has more than a hint of the flavor du jour about him. And yet, trainer Al Stall Jr. has no illusions about what awaits his Ohio Derby winner in Saturday’s […]

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 Adam Kirby aboard 16/1 Adayar scored a resounding upset in Saturday's Epsom Derby. A game of musical jockeys put the 32-year-old Kirby on Adayar earlier in the week. (Image: PA Wire)

When the Music Stopped, Kirby and 16/1 Adayar Win Epsom Derby

Adam Kirby wasn’t supposed to be on Epsom Derby surprise winner Adayar. And Adayar wasn’t supposed to sniff the Epsom Derby winner’s circle. Not at 16/1, and not as Godolphin’s third-string colt. But in a replay of the Kentucky Derby here in the US, colts don’t realize they’re not supposed […]

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 […]

Because he's a horseman at his core, Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale made sure to wager his entire $2.4 million on Kentucky Derby favorite Essential Quality at Churchill Downs. (Image: Kentucky HBPA/@KyHBPA)

‘Mattress Mack’ McIngvale Believes Where You Bet the Horses Matters

When Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale was looking for a site on which to drop a $2.4 million wager on Essential Quality to win the Kentucky Derby, he remembered what he was at heart. McIngvale has been called many things over the years. An entrepreneur. A furniture magnate. A media darling, […]

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? […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Even as the field begins forming, Kentucky Derby runner-up Mandaloun remains a maybe for the May 15 Preakness Stakes. (Image: Churchill Downs/Coady Photography)

Preakness Plans Begin Taking Shape; Cox Remains on the Fence

As Brad Cox ponders his Preakness plans with Kentucky Derby runner-up Mandaloun and fourth-place finisher Essential Quality, the Preakness field is taking shape around him. Maryland Jockey Club stakes coordinator Trish Bowman put out a preliminary list of prospects for the May 15 second leg of the Triple Crown. That […]

Medina Spirit and John Velazquez illustrate their tenacity in deep stretch, holding off Mandaloun to capture the 147th Kentucky Derby. (Image: Churchill Downs/Coady Photography)

The 2021 Derby: 12/1 Medina Spirit wins Baffert His Record Seventh

The primary lesson coming out of the 2021 Kentucky Derby is as simple as it is frustrating for everyone not named Bob Baffert. Even when Baffert brings his third-string horse to Churchill Downs, he wins Derbies. That would be Medina Spirit, who gave Baffert his seventh Derby victory Saturday, passing […]