Undefeated Essential Quality proves a champion in G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
Essential Quality continued his faultless record and secured a second successive G1 victory at Keeneland, USA, with a swooping win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Friday, 6 November.
The Brad Cox-trained son of Tapit had already established himself as one of the most exciting two-year-olds in the USA this year following a decisive success over the same extended-mile trip in the G1 Breeders’ Futurity at the start of October.
Essential Quality was held up in eighth by Luis Saez as Dreamer’s Disease set a strong early pace for the 14-strong field. The Godolphin homebred took closer order leaving the back straight and made a significant move to press for third entering the final quarter-mile.
After being switched out at the top of the straight, Essential Quality stayed on powerfully to collar Hot Rod Charlie just inside the final half-furlong before galloping out strongly for a three-quarter length success.
Brad Cox said: “It was a tremendous effort by Essential Quality and Luis to stay after him the whole way. He overcame a lot today. Distance is no issue with him, he will run all day, and he is just a spectacular colt. I am very proud of him and very happy for the Godolphin organisation.
“At the three-eighths pole, I saw that they had gone 45 and change, and I thought that we had a shot. Luis stayed after him pretty good and I was hoping that he wouldn’t flatten out but he just stayed on. He is a tremendous horse, who has an amazing amount of stamina. He is some colt.”
Essential Quality could now bid to emulate Street Sense and Nyquist, the two previous winners of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile who went on to capture the following season’s Kentucky Derby.
Cox added: “We are going to enjoy this one and the Kentucky Derby will be our goal moving forward. Hopefully, he comes out of this in good order and that is where we will point for.”
Godolphin USA President Jimmy Bell said: “I would like to congratulate Keeneland, the Breeders’ Cup and Mother Nature. Here we are in our own backyard and we have our whole squad from the farm here today, everyone who had a hand in this. It makes it so special to share this with everybody. It has been a fantastic day with a fantastic horse.
“This is not an easy game on a good day. We all live through it and I think that is why the racing fraternity is so strong. We have all experienced some highs and lows but, at the end of the day, we are all in this together. It’s a celebration that we are all thankful and grateful to be a part of.”
Luis Saez said: “I feel so blessed to be here and partnering this horse, it’s very special for me. The first day that I rode Essential Quality, I knew that he was going to be a super horse – he won so easily and I couldn’t stop him.
“He was very focused today and, when I started to let him role at the half-mile, he was really responding so well. When we came to the straight and saw Jackie’s Warrior and Hot Rod Charlie very close, I knew that we had it. He ran by them like it was nothing.”