Belmont S. Presented by NYRA BetsBelmont Park
Essential Quality rebounded from his lone defeat, a fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, to outduel pacesetting Hot Rod Charlie by 1 ¼ lengths in the 153rd
Essential Quality rebounded from his lone defeat, a fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, to outduel pacesetting Hot Rod Charlie by 1 ¼ lengths in the 153rd Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets on Saturday at Belmont Park.
Essential Quality, the 2-year-old champion that rattled off five victories to open his career, was a hard-luck loser in the run for the roses on May 1. He was roughed up at the start before he and regular rider Luis Saez lost considerable ground in finishing fourth by a length.
It was a very different story in the $1.5 million, Grade 1 Belmont, where everything went their way. Hot Rod Charlie, third in the Derby, set a torrid early pace in the mile-and-a-half marathon while Saez patiently sat midpack in the field of eight. They collared the determined front-runner and jockey Flavien Prat at the top of the stretch before Essential Quality gradually wore down his valiant rival.
“It was a long way around there, but it was exciting,” said trainer Brad Cox, a Louisville native who registered his first Triple Crown victory.
Saez recorded his first Belmont victory in five tries. He looked to the heavens after his mount flashed across the finish line in 2:27.11.
“I was giving thanks to the Lord and my brother, Juan,” Saez said.
Juan was a 17-year-old apprentice when he died from head trauma suffered in a riding accident at Indiana Grand in 2014.
The outcome also was extremely significant to Tapit, the sire of Essential Quality. He equaled the great stallion Lexington for most Belmont champions with four. Tapit previously sired Tonalist (2014), Creator (2016) and Tapwrit (2017).
“He was able to really show his stamina late,” Cox said of his gray colt.
Interestingly, Essential Quality denied Hot Rod Charlie by three-quarters of a length in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance last November at Keeneland, so apparently not much has changed.
Preakness Stakes winner Rombauer came in a distant third with Known Agenda fourth. Neither ever threatened the top two.
A Godolphin homebred, Essential Quality improved his career record to six wins from seven starts with $3,215,144 in earnings.
Fastest Time (since 1976): 1:46:53
Greatest Winning Margin (since 1976): 14 3/4 lengths
|06/10/2022||Mo Donegal||Todd A. Pletcher||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||Donegal Racing and Repole Stable|
|06/04/2021||Essential Quality||Brad H. Cox||Luis Saez||Godolphin, LLC|
|06/19/2020||Tiz the Law||Barclay Tagg||Manuel Franco||Sackatoga Stable|
|06/07/2019||Sir Winston||Mark E. Casse||Joel Rosario||Tracy Farmer|
|06/08/2018||Justify||Bob Baffert||Mike E. Smith||WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners, et al|
|06/09/2017||Tapwrit||Todd A. Pletcher||Jose L. Ortiz||Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Robert LaPenta|
|06/10/2016||Creator||Steven M. Asmussen||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||WinStar Farm LLC and Flay, Bobby|
|06/05/2015||American Pharoah||Bob Baffert||Victor Espinoza||Zayat Stables, LLC|
|06/06/2014||Tonalist||Christophe Clement||Joel Rosario||Robert S. Evans|
|06/07/2013||Palace Malice||Todd A. Pletcher||Mike E. Smith||Dogwood Stable|
|06/08/2012||Union Rags||Michael R. Matz||John R. Velazquez||Chadds Ford Stable|
|06/10/2011||Ruler On Ice||Kelly J. Breen||Jose Valdivia, Jr.||Hall, George and Lori|
|06/04/2010||Drosselmeyer||William I. Mott||Mike E. Smith||WinStar Farm LLC|
|06/05/2009||Summer Bird||Tim A. Ice||Kent J. Desormeaux||Jayaraman, Dr. K. K. and Jayaraman, Dr. Vilasini D.|
|06/06/2008||Da' Tara||Nicholas P. Zito||Alan Garcia||Robert V. LaPenta|
|06/08/2007||Rags to Riches||Todd A. Pletcher||John R. Velazquez||Tabor, Michael B. and Smith, Derrick|
|06/09/2006||Jazil||Kiaran P. McLaughlin||Fernando Jara||Shadwell Stable|
|06/10/2005||Afleet Alex||Timothy F. Ritchey||Jeremy Rose||Cash is King LLC|
|06/04/2004||Birdstone||Nicholas P. Zito||Edgar S. Prado||Marylou Whitney Stables LLC|
|06/06/2003||Empire Maker||Robert J. Frankel||Jerry D. Bailey||Juddmonte|
|06/07/2002||Sarava||Kenneth G. McPeek||Edgar S. Prado||New Phoenix Stable and Roy, Mrs. Susan|
|06/08/2001||Point Given||Bob Baffert||Gary L. Stevens||The Thoroughbred Corporation|
|06/09/2000||Commendable||D. Wayne Lukas||Pat Day||Lewis, Robert B. and Beverly J.|
|06/04/1999||Lemon Drop Kid||Flint S. Schulhofer||Jose A. Santos||Jeanne G. Vance|
|06/05/1998||Victory Gallop||W. Elliott Walden||Gary L. Stevens||Prestonwood Farm LLC|
|06/06/1997||Touch Gold||David E. Hofmans||Chris J. McCarron||Stronach, Frank H. and Stonerside Stable|
|06/07/1996||Editor's Note||D. Wayne Lukas||Rene R. Douglas||Overbrook Farm|
|06/09/1995||Thunder Gulch||D. Wayne Lukas||Gary L. Stevens||Michael B. Tabor|
|06/10/1994||Tabasco Cat||D. Wayne Lukas||Pat Day||William T. Young|
|06/04/1993||Colonial Affair||Flint S. Schulhofer||Julie A. Krone||Centennial Farms|
|06/05/1992||A.P. Indy||Neil D. Drysdale||Eddie J. Delahoussaye||Tomonori Tsurumaki|
|06/07/1991||Hansel||Frank L. Brothers||Jerry D. Bailey||Lazy Lane Farm, Inc.|
|06/08/1990||Go and Go (IRE)||Dermot K. Weld||Michael J. Kinane||Moyglare Stud Farm|
|06/09/1989||Easy Goer||Claude R. McGaughey III||Pat Day||Ogden Phipps|
|06/10/1988||Risen Star||Louie J. Roussel, III||Eddie J. Delahoussaye||Roussel, III, Louie and Lamarque, Ronald|
|06/05/1987||Bet Twice||Warren A. Croll, Jr.||Craig Perret||Blanche P. Levy|
|06/06/1986||Danzig Connection||Woodford C. Stephens||Chris J. McCarron||Henryk deKwiatkowski|
|06/07/1985||Creme Fraiche||Woodford C. Stephens||Eddie Maple||Brushwood Stable|
|06/08/1984||Swale||Woodford C. Stephens||Laffit A. Pincay, Jr.||Claiborne Farm|
|06/10/1983||Caveat||Woodford C. Stephens||Laffit A. Pincay, Jr.||A. Belmont IV|
|06/04/1982||Conquistador Cielo||Woodford C. Stephens||Laffit A. Pincay, Jr.||Henryk deKwiatkowski|
|06/05/1981||Summing||Luis Barrera||George Martens||Charles T. Wilson, Jr.|
|06/06/1980||Temperence Hill||Joseph B. Cantey||Eddie Maple||Loblolly Stable|
|06/08/1979||Coastal||David A. Whiteley||Ruben Hernandez||William Haggin Perry|
|06/09/1978||Affirmed||Lazaro S. Barrera||Stephen Cauthen||Harbor View Farm|
|06/10/1977||Seattle Slew||William H. Turner, Jr.||Jean Cruguet||Karen L. Taylor|
|06/04/1976||Bold Forbes||Lazaro S. Barrera||Angel Cordero, Jr.||Esteban R. Tizol|