Essential Quality rebounded from his disappointing fourth in the Kentucky Derby by winning the 153rd Belmont Stakes on Saturday at New York’s Belmont Park.
Hot Rod Charlie, a 9-2 shot, cut a sizzling opening quarter of 22.76 and remained on the lead throughout the 1 1/2-mile marathon. Luis Saez sent Essential Quality toward the front on a wide move that began past the half-mile pole.
Hot Rod Charlie and Essential Quality dueled throughout the stretch before the $1.30-$1 favorite pulled away to a 1 1/2-length victory at the wire.
— BetUS Sportsbook & Casino (@BetUS_Official) June 5, 2021
“The hot pace … we were in a good spot where they would come back,” trainer Brad Cox said. “It looked like the horse on the inside still had run left. I knew it would be a battle down the lane.”
Essential Quality has won six of his seven starts with his only loss coming in the Derby.
Cox could wind up having trained two of the three winners of this year’s Triple Crown; his Mandaloun finished second to Medina Spirit in the Run for the Roses. However, Medina Spirit has tested positive for a banned substance and could be disqualified moving Mandaloun up.
Essential Quality paid $4.60 and topped a $15 exacta. The trifecta with Preakness winner Rombauer, who finished third, returned $21.70.
— Alicia Hughes (@AHughesTVG) June 5, 2021