Belmont Stakes

Essential Quality Outslugs Keepmeinmind in Jim Dandy

Intangibles make good horses great horses. Consigned to the widest trip of any of the five runners left for Saturday's GII Jim Dandy S. at Saratoga, Godolphin's 'TDN Rising Star' and reigning 2-year-old male Eclipse Award winner Essential Quality (Tapit) was under the pump fully a half-mile from home, but--as he has demonstrated on more than one occasion during a season that appears again to be on a championship trajectory--the gunmetal gray colt looked a rival straight in the eye, wagged his finger Dikembe Mutumbo-style and willed himself to the...

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Belmont Park Meet Generates $632,208,251

The Belmont Park spring/summer meet generated $632,208,251 in all-sources handle, a 20.6% increase over the 2019 spring/summer meet and 63.5% above the 2020 spring/summer meet, which was abbreviated to just 25 days because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The spring/summer meet, which began Apr. 22 without spectators in attendance before reopening to a limited number of spectators May 1, boasted 59 stakes races worth $16.95 million in total purse money. Average daily handle over the 48 days of racing was $13,171,005, a 20.6% increase over 2019. The abbreviated 2020 spring/summer meet...

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With Spa Meet in the Balance, NYRA Argues for Upholding Baffert Ban

With a July 12 federal court date looming to decide whether or not Bob Baffert's history of equine drug positives will keep him from entering horses at the upcoming and financially lucrative Saratoga Race Course meet, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) on June 30 filed a memorandum of law that opposes the Hall of Fame trainer's request for an injunction to lift the association's ban against him that has been in effect for the past six weeks. NYRA told Baffert via letter May 17 that he was temporarily not...

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Repole Keeping His 'Wits' About Him

How badly does New York native Mike Repole want to win the GI Belmont Stakes? Well, if the scene in the winner's circle following the eye-catching unveiling of 'TDN Rising Star' Wit (c, 2, Practical Joke--Numero d'Oro, by Medaglia d'Oro) after a tardy start in the blockbuster card's 11:35 a.m. lidlifter was any indication, NYRA may have to start constructing a larger enclosure. "I had six horses running on Belmont day and had 50 family and friends there," Repole said. "Here he is at 2-5 and eighth after spotting the...

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Sean Tugel Talks Tapit On Writers' Room

In a crowded and often fickle stallion landscape, one North American sire at Gainesway Farm has stood out above all the rest for over a decade strong now. He may not win the general sires title every year, but no stallion in this country has produced the consistent excellence of Tapit since he went to stud in 2005, and Saturday was yet another elite-level reminder when his champion son Essential Quality streaked across the wire as his remarkable fourth GI Belmont S. winner. Wednesday morning, Gainesway's director of stallion sales...

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Another Belmont Brings Tapit to New Heights

So here, not before time, is some better news. For while it sometimes feels as though our industry is trying to put out all the fires of hell with a single horse blanket, we must be doing something right if the benchmark stallions of the decade, either side of the ocean, are influences as wholesome as Galileo (Ire) and Tapit. On Saturday the dynasty established by one of the greatest sires in the long story of the breed extended its grip on Epsom with a first G1 Derby winner by...

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Record Handle for Non-Triple Crown Year at Belmont

With a stellar eight Grade I races on the card including the 153rd Belmont S. presented by NYRA Bets, Belmont Park generated all-sources handle of $112,725,278 Saturday. The amount marks a New York Racing Association (NYRA) record for a non-Triple Crown year, in spite of limited attendance and restrictions on track due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 all-sources handle is a greater than 10% increase over the previous non-Triple Crown record of $102,163,280, set in 2019. On-track handle for the 13-race card was $7,532,571. All-sources handle on the Belmont...

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Essential Quality Gives Tapit Fourth Belmont Win

ELMONT, NY - After suffering his first career defeat as the 5-2 favorite in the GI Kentucky Derby, 'TDN Rising Star' Essential Quality (Tapit) ran to his championship form at two and wore down a super game Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow) by 1 1/4 lengths to capture Saturday's GI Belmont S. It was a long way back to GI Preakness S. winner Rombauer (Twirling Candy) in third. The Godolphin homebred becomes a record fourth Belmont winner for his all-conquering sire Tapit. With the late money pouring in on a steamy...

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Drain the Clock Up in Time in Woody Stephens

Drain the Clock (c, 3, Maclean's Music--Manki, by Arch) outslugged favored Jackie's Warrior (Maclean's Music) by a neck to lead home a one-two finish for his sire in a thrilling renewal of the GI Woody Stephens S. at Belmont Park Saturday. It was 7 1/4 lengths back to Nova Rags (Union Rags) in third. With Jose Ortiz subbing for his sidelined brother Irad Ortiz, Jr., the last out GIII Bay Shore S. winner broke sharply and very briefly cleared the field of six. Jackie's Warrior, off a step slowly after...

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Ortiz Sidelined Two Weeks

Irad Ortiz, Jr., the leading rider at the current Belmont spring/summer meet, will be out of action for about two weeks after being unseated in Thursday's fifth race, agent Steve Rushing said. The 28-year-old, who has won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey for the past three years running, was transported to hospital for further evaluation and cleared. "A CT scan and X-rays were negative," said Rushing. "He will probably be out for two weeks." Ortiz was named to ride Known Agenda (Curlin) in Saturday's GI Belmont S. Trainer Todd...

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'Quality' Over Quantity in Triple Crown Finale

ELMONT, NY -- What a difference a year makes. Back in its traditional spot on the calendar and 1 1/2-mile distance after the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world-and Triple Crown-completely upside down in 2020, Saturday's GI Belmont S. will feature a showdown between last year's champion 2-year-old colt Essential Quality (Tapit) and GI Preakness S. upsetter Rombauer (Twirling Candy). The Godolphin homebred was unstoppable in his first five career starts, headed by a win in the 2020 GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Sent off as the 5-2 favorite in the GI...

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This Side Up: True Positives of Testing a Champion

Let's get one thing straight. Just because our community has weathered so many other storms, through 152 previous runnings of the GI Belmont S., nobody should be complacent that we can rely indefinitely on some inborn, imperishable flair for survival. Yes, this venerable race has endured even crises that penetrated the Turf like the tendrils of some pernicious bindweed rooted in the wider world. There was no Belmont in 1911 and 1912, because of anti-gambling laws; a couple of years later, it was being staged despite a world at war....

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