Quality Rules in Breeders' Cup Juvenile

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Essential Quality | Horsephotos

Godolphin homebred Essential Quality (Tapit) rallied from off a hot pace to go three-for-three in Friday's GI TVG Breeders' Cup Juvenile Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, giving Brad Cox back-to-back winners on Future Stars Friday. Stablemate Aunt Pearl (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}) streaked to her own third win from as many tries one race earlier in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Overcoming trouble to take his Churchill sprint unveiling Sept. 5 and a clear-cut winner of the GI Claiborne Breeders' Futurity over track and trip Oct. 3, Essential Quality was considered by the market to be the second-likeliest winner at 7-2 behind Jackie's Warrior (Maclean's Music), the winner of the GI Runhappy Hopeful S. and GI Champagne S. who had to contend here with two turns for the first time and expected hot pace.

Essential Quality settled in midpack around the first bend and behind a scramble for early position that saw Jackie's Warrior tugging eagerly from just behind the leader. The field was strung out behind opening splits of :22.58 and :45.31 over a surface that had been playing kindly to speed, and the grey Essential Quality began to catch the eye out wide while heading into the second turn as Jackie's Warrior made his move to confront leader Dreamer's Disease (Laoban). Essential Quality mirrored the move of 94-1 Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow)–a half to last year's GI Breeders' Cup Sprint hero Mitole (Eskendereya)–and swept widest into the lane to blow past that runner at the sixteenth pole to get the job done by 3/4 of a length. Breeders' Futurity runner-up Keepmeinmind (Laoban) filled out the trifecta at 30-1, while Jackie's Warrior did well to hold on for fourth all things considered.

Cox, who still holds a strong hand for Saturday's card with five more Breeders' Cup entrants including GI Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff favorite Monomoy Girl (Tapizar), also boasts a victory this year in the GI Longines Kentucky Oaks among his 183 wins and counting $14 million-plus in earnings.

“It was a tremendous effort by this horse,” said Cox. “Luis [Saez] stayed after him the whole way. He overcame a lot today. He's a nice colt. Distance is no issue with him. He'll run all day. I'm very proud of him and I'm so happy for the Godolphin organization. What a horse. At the three-eighths pole, Luis stayed after him pretty good and I was hoping he wouldn't flatten out. But he stayed on. He's a tremendous horse, has an amazing amount of stamina. We're going to enjoy this one and obviously [the GI Derby] will be our goal moving forward.”

This was Saez's first Breeders' Cup score.

“I had a perfect trip, a beautiful trip,” he said. “My horse broke so well. He was in the right spot. I knew there was going to be a lot of speed so we were in the right spot. At the three-eighths he gave me that kick so I knew we had a chance to win the race. He can run all day. He's a nice horse.”

Friday's win provided a bit of redemption for Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin, whose 2019 Breeders' Futurity winner Maxfield (Street Sense) was forced to scratch out of last year's Juvenile renewal due to injury.

“We certainly got a step closer today,” Godolphin USA President Jimmy Bell said. “We've experienced both ends of this, the high expectations and anticipations and disappointments with Maxfield last year. And now to come back like this. They [Maxfield and Essential Quality] followed basically followed the same path–race at Churchill, came back won the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland. This was a pretty amazing performance today. To do what he did to come from off the pace, to run them down like that in his third lifetime start, it takes a ton of talent to do that. I'm sure he's still learning. It's so exciting for everybody this is what you live and dream of.”

Friday, Keeneland
TVG BREEDERS' CUP JUVENILE PRESENTED BY THOROUGHBRED AFTERCARE ALLIANCE-GI, $1,840,000, Keeneland, 11-6, 2yo, c/g, 1 1/16m, 1:42.09, 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
O-Godolphin, LLC; B-Godolphin (KY); T-Brad H. Cox; J-Luis Saez. $1,040,000. Lifetime Record: 3-3-0-0, $1,335,144. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Hot Rod Charlie, 122, c, 2, Oxbow–Indian Miss, by Indian Charlie. ($17,000 Ylg '19 FTKFEB; $110,000 Ylg '19 FTKOCT). O-Roadrunner Racing, Boat Racing, LLC & Strauss Bros Racing; B-Edward A. Cox (KY); T-Doug F. O'Neill. $340,000.
3–Keepmeinmind, 122, c, 2, Laoban–Inclination, by Victory Gallop. O-Cypress Creek LLC and Bennewith, Arnold; B-Southern Equine Stables, LLC (KY); T-Robertino Diodoro. $180,000.
Margins: 3/4, 1 1/4, 1 1/4. Odds: 3.70, 94.40, 30.90.
Also Ran: Jackie's Warrior, Rombauer, Dreamer's Disease, King Fury, Classier, Sittin On Go, Reinvestment Risk, Calibrate, Camp Hope, Likeable, Next.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Pedigree Notes:
Delightful Quality, a half-sister to 2005 champion 2-year-old filly Folklore (Tiznow), was third in the 2014 GIII Bed o' Roses S. Godolphin purchased her dam Contrive for $3 million at the 2005 Fasig-Tipton November sale. This is also the family of recent Japanese Triple Crown winner Contrail (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}). Under the winner's third dam, multiple graded winner Jeano (Fappiano), is graded winner Tizahit (Tiznow), dam of Saturday's GI Breeders' Cup F/M Sprint contender Come Dancing (Malibu Moon).

Delightful Quality has a yearling filly by Uncle Mo and was bred back to Nyquist.

Essential Quality is one of 27 Grade I winners for Tapit, who has 86 graded winners and 138 stakes winners. He is the first Grade I winner by Tapit out of an Elusive Quality mare.

As a broodmare sire, the late Elusive Quality has 10 Grade I winners, 50 graded winners and 121 stakes winners. He was broodmare sire of Breeders' Cup winners Shamrock Rose (First Dude) and Roy H (More Than Ready).

From the Also Rans:
“He got such a wonderful trip from Tyler [Gaffalione]. What a ride. That first turn was just masterful; saved all the ground. He's a half to Mitole, who won the Breeders' Cup [Sprint], so we knew the class was in him. He's built like a two-turn horse. Last time out we put blinkers on him and went two turns and he answered a lot of questions. To say we thought that would happen would be a lie, so it's pretty special.” –Hot Rod Charlie's trainer Doug O'Neill

“I broke good. It looked like there were a couple of horses on the outside that wanted to go a little bit, so I held my spot and let them go. It looked like we were going at a good pace in front of me. I thought I was in a good spot. Too bad that those horses came and beat us. He's a good horse. I was in a good spot and he kept running, but those on the outside came strong and beat us.” Joel Rosario, rider of Jackie's Warrior

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