Cox Sets Sights On Travers Stakes For Essential Quality

Trainer Brad Cox provided a positive report on Godolphin’s newly minted American classic winner Essential Quality, who gave the prestigious racing and breeding operation their first triumph in a Triple Crown race in a memorable edition of Saturday’s Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.

The reigning Champion 2-Year-Old tracked swift fractions produced by Hot Rod Charlie, and dueled with the pacesetter in a dramatic battle down the stretch, getting the better of his foe by 1 ¼ lengths, and produced a career-best 109 Beyer Speed Figure. The result replicated the one-two finish of last year’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland.

“He looks amazing. It doesn’t look like he lost any weight. We jogged him up this morning and he was moving great,” Cox said Sunday. “He’s a very intelligent horse. It’s amazing to watch him. We train him on race day, and whenever we put him back in, he’ll lay down the rest of the day. He knows what’s going on and he deserves a good rest today after such a long race yesterday.”

In capturing the “Test of the Champion,” Essential Quality gave his prolific sire Tapit his fourth progeny to conquer the final leg of the Triple Crown, joining Tonalist [2014], Creator [2016] and Tapwrit [2017].

With the Belmont Stakes in the rearview mirror, Cox said the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers on August 25 at Saratoga Race Course is the next major objective for Essential Quality. He did not rule out giving the talented gray colt a start beforehand in the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy on July 31 at Saratoga Race Course.

“It’s one of the more prestigious races out there for three-year-old colts. So that would be the logical spot,” Cox said of a possible start in the “Mid-Summer Derby.” “It’s a mile and a quarter and we know he can handle that. In regard to a race before, it would be nice. Saratoga is obviously a demanding track. I wouldn’t say we have to have a race before that, but it would be nice. I think the logical spot would be the Jim Dandy, but we’ll get him back to Churchill and let him tell us over the next couple of weeks how he’s feeling.”

The Belmont Stakes was the third time Essential Quality faced off against Hot Rod Charlie. Prior to Saturday’s race, they ran a respective fourth and third in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 1.

“I think it would be great for racing, no doubt about it.” Cox said of a potential rivalry between the Belmont top two finishers.

A Kentucky homebred, Essential Quality is out of the multiple stakes-placed Elusive Quality mare Delightful Quality. She has an unraced Uncle Mo 2-year-old filly named Famed, who also is trained by Cox.

“She’s a nice filly,” Cox said. “She shows some gate speed and is a pretty quick learner. Elegant filly with plenty of leg. We’ve had her for about a month and she’s had some three-eighths works under her belt. No rush with her.”

Essential Quality is scheduled to ship back to Cox’s primary division at Churchill Downs on Monday.


The post Cox Sets Sights On Travers Stakes For Essential Quality appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.