Essential Quality is the pre-race favourite in the eight-horse lineup for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.

Spread the love

The Grade I Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown, will have an eight-horse lineup on Saturday, with some 3-year-olds seeking to improve on their performance in the Kentucky Derby.

Not only will there be no Triple Crown sweep this year after Medina Spirit won the Run for the Roses and Rombauer won the Preakness Stakes, but no horse will have run in all three races due to the makeup of the Belmont field.

Medina Spirit, whose Derby triumph is in jeopardy because to two adverse post-race drug tests, did not run in the Preakness and is not entered in the Belmont.

Essential Quality is the pre-race favourite in the eight-horse lineup for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.

The Grade I Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown, will have an eight-horse lineup on Saturday, with some 3-year-olds seeking to improve on their performance in the Kentucky Derby.

Not only will there be no Triple Crown sweep this year after Medina Spirit won the Run for the Roses and Rombauer won the Preakness Stakes, but no horse will have run in all three races due to the makeup of the Belmont field.

READ ALSO:  Rugby: Taranaki expecting sell-out crowd for Ranfurly Shield defence

Medina Spirit, whose Derby triumph is in jeopardy because to two adverse post-race drug tests, did not run in the Preakness and is not entered in the Belmont.

With a decent start in a more compact group, he is expected to be the early leader in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes, likely with company from Hot Rod Charlie.

The latter’s trainer, Doug O’Neill, said drawing the No. 4 gate, three inside Rock Your World, would not have been his ideal scenario.

“In an ideal world, we wanted to be to the outside of Rock Your World since he figures to be leaving there pretty hard,” O’Neill said. “But that didn’t happen. We’re just grateful to be in the gate.”

O’Neill said Hot Rod Charlie’s owners were firm in the decision not to run in the Preakness just two weeks after the Derby, calling them “very patient and conservative.”

Known Agenda, ninth in the Kentucky Derby, is the most highly regarded on the morning line of three Belmont starters trained by Todd Pletcher.

READ ALSO:  U.S. hit by spike in coronavirus cases; rising infections strain Europe's hospitals

Pletcher said the colt “has been doing great” and, like his stablemates, will benefit if a pace battle develops.

“I think the real key is we need an honest pace, and there are three or four horses in here who will try to be prominently placed early,” Pletcher said. “If they set an honest pace, I think that will help all three of mine.”

The race has a bit of international intrigue with France Go De Ina, based in Japan, returning from a seventh-place finish in the Preakness. Before that, the Kentucky-bred Will Take Charge colt was sixth in the Group 2 UAE Derby in Dubai.

UAE Derby winner Rebel’s Romance is at New York’s Belmont Park and was expected to contest Saturday’s race, but was not entered. At the last moment, owner Godolphin Racing reported he has a leg infection.

Godolphin, the racing entity of Dubai’s ruler, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, also owns Essential Quality.

Trainer Charlie Appleby said Rebel’s Romance has not been able to shake the infection, adding, “There’s just no point in going there with only 75 percent of a horse, so we’ll give this a swerve and regroup and find another event for him.”

READ ALSO:  Texas asks U.S. Supreme Court to help Trump upend election in long-shot lawsuit

The field for the Grade I Belmont Stakes, presented by NYRA Bets, by post position with morning-line odds, jockey and trainer:

1. Bourbonic, 15-1. Kendrick Carmouche, Todd Pletcher

2. Essential Quality, 2-1. Luis Saez, Brad Cox

3. Rombauer, 3-1. John Velazquez, Michael McCarthy

4. Hot Rod Charlie, 7-2. Flavien Prat, Doug O’Neill

5. France Go De Ina, 30-1. Ricardo Santana Jr., Hideyuki Mori

6. Known Agenda, 6-1. Irad Ortiz Jr., Todd Pletcher

7. Rock Your World, 9-2. Joel Rosario, John Sadler

8. Overtook, 20-1. Manny Franco, Todd Pletcher

 164 

Leave a Reply