Spa Notebook: Essential Quality Tunes Up for Jim Dandy

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Essential Quality (left) | Sarah Andrew

Champion Essential Quality (Tapit) drilled five furlongs over the Saratoga main track in 1:01.81 (7/13) Saturday morning, two weeks out from his expected start in the GII Jim Dandy S. at the Spa.

Last seen outgaming Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow) in the GI Belmont S. June 5, the Godolphin-owned 'TDN Rising Star' worked in the company of New York-bred maiden winner Bingo John (Oxbow) and was caught in sectional times of :25 flate and :48.3 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:14.2 and seven-eighths in 1:28.3.

“It was a solid move,” said Cox, the reigning Eclipse Award-winning trainer. “It looked like he stayed on well. We wanted to let him get a little blow out of this. He had a nice gallop out.”

The move was the second for Essential Quality since his arrival in Saratoga. He went an easy half-mile in :50.44 July 10.

“We have another work to come, but so far I'm happy with how everything is going,” said Cox. “From what we saw this morning, he's doing very well.”

Malathaat Ready For Reapperance…

Shadwell Stable's undefeated 'TDN Rising Star' Malathaat (Curlin) got her final tightener ahead of the GI Coaching Club American Oaks over the main track during a flurry of activity Saturday morning, breezing a half-mile in :48.05 alongside GII Mother Goose S. upsetter Zaajel (Street Sense). The duo was forced to shift out and around a couple of other workers at the top of the lane, then finished with good energy.

Set to make her first start besting next-out GI Acorn S. winner Search Results (Flatter) in the GI Kentucky Oaks Apr. 30, the $1.05-million Keeneland September yearling was caught by NYRA clockers galloping out five furlongs in 1:02.3. Her big-race rider John Velazquez put her through her paces.

“She finished up excellent,” said Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher. “The work was very good, it was just unfortunate they got caught up with a couple horses, but it worked out fine in the end.”

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