Essential Quality toughs it out in G2 Jim Dandy Stakes
Essential Quality overcame a wide trip to post a hard-fought victory on his first appearance since winning the Belmont Stakes in the G2 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga, USA, on Saturday, 31 July.
Dropping back to nine furlongs, the Brad Cox-trained colt broke on terms and soon disputed fourth of the five runners on the outside of Keepmeinmind.
He continued to travel wide throughout and quickened around the field turning for home, moving up to challenge for the lead with Weyburn, Masqueparade and Keepmeinmind at the top of the straight.
Essential Quality hit the front over a furlong from home and responded gamely for Luis Saez as Keepmeinmind rallied inside the final furlong. The Godolphin homebred took control near the line for a half-length success.
Brad Cox said: “Essential Quality really had to battle down the lane. The runner-up ran a huge race – he slipped up the inside and made for some anxious moments down the lane – but Essential Quality showed the heart of a champion. He had to battle to win it.
“It looked like he had an extremely wide trip around both turns and he may have run a mile and a quarter today, judging by the amount of ground he lost. I am proud of the effort – he is all racehorse and he tries hard. Luis said that he made the lead and started waiting for other horses.
“It’s almost like it took nothing out of him. He has a tremendous amount of stamina. I am proud of him and congratulations to Godolphin and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed. It’s testament to their breeding program with the stamina in this horse.
“Essential Quality is carrying a good bit of weight and I am really glad we ran him here in preparation for the Travers Stakes. He has been doing really well here but I don’t know if he thinks he is on vacation in Saratoga because he has really put on weight. I am thinking that we will have a sharper horse in four weeks.
“This will do more for his fitness than anything and I am glad we got this out of the way. I’m happy with the performance and it’s on to the Travers.”
Luis Saez said: “Essential Quality was pretty comfortable and, when I came to the stretch, I had a lot of horse. When he takes the lead, he is always waiting for competition. As soon as the other horse came close to him, he took off again.
“What a privilege to be on this horse. I am thankful to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed for giving me the opportunity to ride this kind of horse. It’s something very special and we love to be a part of it.”