Attempting to follow up on a victory by fellow Godolphin-bred Maxfield (Street Sense) in last year's GI Claiborne Breeders' Futurity, Essential Quality (Tapit) thoroughly dominated his competition to score, thus earning a trip to next month's GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Three paths wide into the first turn as Upstriker (Upstart) assumed the earning advantage, Essential Quality pressed that rival through an initial quarter in :23.97. Challenging for the lead despite pilot Luis Saez kept his feet set firmly in the dashboard, the homebred poked his head in front following a half in :48.86. Moving clear heading rounding the home turn, Saez asked his mount for more down the lane and the grey obliged, winning by a strong three-length margin over 52-1 longshot Keepmeinmind. Super Stock rounded out the trifecta.
Following the race, winning rider Luis Saez said, “Today he proved that he's a very good horse. He did it pretty easy. He was a little green when he came to the track–he was looking around a little bit, but he took off. He was running. What a horse. I'm so glad I'm on this horse.”
An impressive four-length winner in his career debut going six furlongs at Churchill Downs Sept. 5, Essential Quality earned TDN Rising Star status in that sparkling performance as the 9-5 favorite. In his latest tightener for the Breeders' Futurity, the colt worked five furlongs at Churchill in :59.80, the fourth fastest of 57 at the distance Sept. 26.
“We've had some very nice 2-year-old fillies, but this is probably the best [2-year-old colt] I've had as far as talent goes,” said trainer Brad Cox. “He's our first Grade I winner as a 2-year-old colt. He means a lot to us. He showed us from Day 1 that he's special, very talented. Luis did a good job of getting him to relax. He's a very green horse. That was my concern today–could he put it all together? And he did. He pulled up a bit on the backside. He's got some learning to do. If he can figure it out, he's a serious animal.”
Essential Quality's MSW and GSP dam is a daughter of Contrive (Storm Cat), whose daughter Folklore (Tiznow) won the 2005 GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Belmont Park. Contrive was purchased by Godolphin for $3 million in foal to Pleasantly Perfect at the 2005 Fasig-Tipton November Sale. The 11-year-old Delightful Quality is the dam of a yearling colt by Uncle Mo, was barren to the same stallion for 2020 and was bred to Uncle Mo's GI Kentucky Derby winning son Nyquist this past season. Essential Quality is bred on the cross over Gone West that is responsible for Tapit's Grade I winner Zazu and additional graded winners Flashback, Bandbox, Ticonderoga and Golden Hawk.
CLAIBORNE BREEDERS' FUTURITY-GI, $400,000, Keeneland, 10-3, 2yo, 1 1/16m, 1:44.37, ft.
1–ESSENTIAL QUALITY, 122, c, 2, by Tapit
1st Dam: Delightful Quality, by Elusive Quality
2nd Dam: Contrive, by Storm Cat
3rd Dam: Jeano, by Fappiano
TDN Rising Star 1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN, 1ST GRADE I WIN. O/B-Godolphin (KY); T-Brad H. Cox; J-Luis Saez. $240,000. Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0, $295,144. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Keepmeinmind, 122, c, 2, Laoban–Inclination, by Victory Gallop. O-Southern Equine Stable LLC; B-Southern Equine Stables, LLC (KY); T-Robertino Diodoro. $80,000.
3–Super Stock, 122, c, 2, Dialed In–Super Girlie, by Closing Argument. ($70,000 Ylg '19 KEESEP). O-Erv Woolsey and Keith Asmussen; B-Pedro Gonzalez & P.J. Gonzalez (KY); T-Steven M. Asmussen. $40,000.
Margins: 3 1/4, 1HF, 4HF. Odds: 1.90, 52.70, 10.40.
Also Ran: Upstriker, Founder, Calibrate-(DH), Dixie's Two Stents-(DH), King Fury, Notary.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.