Godolphin’s spectacular sweep now includes the Belmont Stakes.
Essential Quality’s victory in the Belmont Stakes in New York on Saturday night capped off a memorable day for Godolphin.
Just hours after Charlie Appleby’s Adayar surged to victory in the Cazoo Derby at Epsom, Brad Cox’s Essential Quality completed the Triple Crown with a high-class performance of his own.
The grey Tapit colt was given a terrific ride by Luis Saez, who was aware of the strong pace set by Hot Rod Charlie and Rock Your World, apprehensive of allowing his mount too much to do after losing his unbeaten record in the Kentucky Derby.
As Rock Your World faded, Essential Quality moved up to second on the outside into second off the penultimate curve, and a titanic struggle ensued with the courageous Hot Rod Charlie, with Essential Quality seeing out the mile and a half brilliantly to assert close home.
“That was a long way around there, a mile and a half,” Cox said after winning his first Triple Crown race. I believed it (Quick Rod Charlie’s speed) would help our horse – clearly, Hot Rod Charlie had a fantastic race, and I figured with the hot pace, we’d be in a terrific situation for a comeback.
“He (Hot Rod Charlie) had a wonderful race on the front end, and we did a good job of positioning ourselves turning for home – he was able to prove his stamina late in the race.
“I knew it was going to be a battle down the lane since the horse on the inside (Hot Rod Charlie) still had running left (turning for home).”
“I want to thank Sheikh Mohammed for his assistance over the last two years, and this (Godolphin) is a fantastic, world-class organization,” he continued. We wouldn’t be here without this horse and his help, so I owe him a huge debt of gratitude.”
“I was so convinced in the Kentucky Derby that we were going to win that race, but we had a bad start and was bumped breaking,” Saez said. So there you have it. (This is a brief piece.)