Belmont Winner Essential Quality On Top Of Final NTRA 3-Year-Old Poll

The winner of the Grade 1, 153rd Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets and the final No. 1 ranking in the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Top Three-Year-Old Poll, was on the line in deep stretch of Saturday’s 1 ½-mile Test of the Champion until Essential Quality, the 6-5 favorite, edged past Hot Rod Charlie to prevail by 1 ¼ lengths.

As a result, in the final Top 3-year-old poll of national media, Godolphin’s Essential Quality, trained by Brad Cox, gained the top spot, earning all 37 first-place votes for a total of 370 points. Boat Racing, Gainesway Stable, Road Runner Racing and William Strauss’ Hot Rod Charlie, trained by Doug O’Neill, finished second with 298 points.

The 1-2 Belmont finish of Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie was the same result as last November’s Grade 1 TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance at Keeneland when Essential Quality defeated Hot Rod Charlie by three-quarters of a length. This year, Essential Quality won both the Grade 3 Southwest at Oaklawn Park and the Grade 2 Toyota Blue Grass at Keeneland before finishing fourth as the 5-2 favorite in the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve. After a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita to open the season, Hot Rod Charlie won the Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds in March, and finished third in the Kentucky Derby.

John and Diane Fradkin’s Rombauer was the poll leader going into the final week off his upset win in the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 15. Trained by Michael McCarthy, Rombauer finished third in the Belmont Stakes and third in the poll with 282 points.

Juddmonte’s Mandaloun, also trained by Cox, who crossed the wire second in the Kentucky Derby, finished in the fourth place with 227 points. Shadwell Stable’s undefeated filly, Malathaat, winner of the Grade 1 Longines Kentucky Oaks, wound up in fifth place with 177 points. Zedan Racing’s Medina Spirit, third in the Preakness after winning the Kentucky Derby, finished in sixth place with 164 points.

Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Midnight Bourbon, second in the Preakness, finished in seventh place with 147 points. Two horses entered the top 10 in the final week. Klaravich Stables’ dark bay filly Search Results, winner of Saturday’s Grade 1 Acorn Stakes at Belmont, received 74 votes to reach eighth place, and Slam Dunk Racing, Madaket Stables, Wonder Stables and Michael Nentwig’s Drain the Clock, who won Belmont’s Grade 1 Woody Stephens Stakes, claimed the ninth spot with 66 points. CHC Inc. and WinStar Farm’s Life Is Good, winner of the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes, finished 10th with 48 points.

Godolphin’s 4-year-old Mystic Guide continues atop the NTRA National Thoroughbred Poll for older horses, but there was a shake up in the rankings after him. Winner of the Group 1 Dubai World Cup at Meydan on March 27, Mystic Guide, trained by Mike Stidham, received 27 first place votes and 337 points. Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing’s 4-year-old Silver State has jumped from 13th to second place this week following his 1-length victory in Saturday’s Grade 1 Hill ‘N’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Silver State, a winner of all four of his starts this year, has one-first place and 242 points. St. George Stable’s Letruska (240 points), who captured Belmont’s Grade 1 Ogden Phipps for trainer Fausto Gutierrez, rises from seventh to third place.

Another Klaravich runner on the move is Domestic Spending (234 points), who jumped from 10th to fourth place after winning Saturday’s Grade 1 Resorts World Casino Manhattan Stakes at Belmont for trainer Chad Brown. The 4-year-old Charlatan, runner-up in the Group 1 Saudi Cup, drops to fifth place with 161 points. Godolphin’s 4-year-old Maxfield, trained by Brendan Walsh, remains in sixth place with one first-place vote and 134 points. My Racehorse, Spendthrift Farm LLC and Madaket Stables’ Monomoy Girl, the 2020 older dirt female Eclipse Award-winner, is now in seventh place with 131 points. The 4-year-old Gamine (121 points), last year’s champion female sprinter, stays in eighth place. Essential Quality enters the National Poll this week with one first-place vote and 118 points. Knicks Go (49 points), fourth in the Metropolitan Handicap, drops from a second-place tie last week to 10th place.

The NTRA Top Thoroughbred polls are the sport’s most comprehensive surveys of experts. Every week eligible journalists and broadcasters cast votes for their top 10 horses, with points awarded on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. All horses that have raced in the U.S., are in training in the U.S., or are known to be pointing to a major event in the U.S. are eligible for the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll. Voting in the Top Thoroughbred Poll is scheduled to be conducted through Nov. 6.

The full results for the NTRA Thoroughbred Polls can be found on the NTRA website at:

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