Trainer Brad Cox told Steve Byk on At the Races Tuesday morning that champion Essential Quality (Tapit), fourth in the GI Kentucky Derby as the 29-10 favorite, will skip the GI Preakness S. May 15.
The grey could be considered for the GI Belmont S. June 5, with Godolphin's Jimmy Bell telling TVG's Alicia Hughes that the Belmont is “part of the conversation, but that's not definitive at all. We're skipping the Preakness, that's for sure. Our primary goal is to run in the [Aug. 28 GI] Travers and we'll work backwards from there. His next start may or may not be in the Belmont as all options are being considered.”
Cox told Byk that Triple Crown decisions on Derby runner-up Mandaloun (Into Mischief) and Smarty Jones S. winner Caddo River (Hard Spun) would be made in the coming days with their respective co-owners.