Brad Cox

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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Essential Quality Lays Over Rivals in Jim Dandy

As the leader in a contentious 3-year-old division, all eyes will be on Godolphin's champion Essential Quality (Tapit) Saturday at Saratoga, but the race itself may lack for drama, as the gray lays over his five rivals in the GII Jim Dandy S., the Spa's traditional prep for the Aug. 28 GI Runhappy Travers S. Then again, stranger things have happened at the "Graveyard of Favorites". Sewing up his Eclipse Award as the top 2-year-old male via a three-for-three campaign that culminated with a score in the GI TVG Breeders'...

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Another First-Time Starter Winner for Practical Joke

6th-Ellis, $45,968, Msw, 7-24, 2yo, f, 5f, :57.06, ft, 6 3/4 lengths. GIRL WITH A DREAM (f, 2, Practical Joke--Henley, by Corinthian) was sent off the 6-5 chalk to open her account at first asking and turned it on through the Ellis stretch to graduate by an imposing margin Saturday afternoon. The $115,000 Keeneland September yearling graduate jumped alertly from an outside gate and pressed the pace through an opening quarter-mile in :22.24. Allowed to stride into the lead with about 2 1/2 furlongs to travel, the chestnut was shaken...

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Mandaloun 'Sound, Happy' After Eventful Haskell Win

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY--Shortly after GI TVG.com Haskell S. winner Mandaloun (Into Mischief) arrived at his barn at 10 a.m. Sunday morning following his trip north from Monmouth Park, trainer Brad Cox said it was too early to say what will be the next test for the Juddmonte homebred. Mandaloun reached the wire second in a Haskell, beaten a nose by Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow). Within minutes, though, the stewards awarded him the victory by disqualifying Hot Rod Charlie for causing Midnight Bourbon (Tiznow) to stumble in the stretch, unseating jockey...

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Spa Notebook: Essential Quality Tunes Up for Jim Dandy

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...

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Arklow Tries to Fend Off Brown Trio in U.N.

Easily the most accomplished runner in the field with earnings of over $2.75 million--more than his nine opponents combined--7-year-old stalwart Arklow (Arch) will try to make amends for running fourth as a heavy favorite in last year's GI United Nations S. in Saturday's renewal of the 1 3/8-mile test on the Monmouth turf. Picking up his first stakes win as a 3-year-old in the GII American Turf S. back in 2017, the bay has since added five more black-type scores, including his lone Grade I success thus far in the...

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Triple Crown Heavy Hitters Reconvene in Haskell

The runners-up in all three Triple Crown races—though one of them may be promoted to winner at a later date—will clash along with a very intriguing stretch-out sprinter Saturday at Monmouth in a quality renewal of the GI TVG.com Haskell S., a "Win and You're In" qualifier for the GI Longines Breeders' Cup Classic. Pegged as the 6-5 morning-line favorite is Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow), who ran the best race of the three Triple Crown returnees when finishing a hard-luck second to division leader Essential Quality (Tapit) in the GI...

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Competitive Filly Sprinters Kick Off Spa Juvenile Action

5th-SAR, $100k, Msw, 2yo, f, 5 1/2f, 3:21 p.m. ET Split divisions of juvenile filly sprinters get the Saratoga baby race season underway on opening day Thursday, with this latter half appearing to be clearly the saltier spot on paper. Heads turned when a filly by thus-far unheralded freshman sire Valiant Minister hammered for $360,000--120 times the Bridlewood Farm resident's stud fee--at OBS April, but one viewing of OUTFOXED's breeze-show effort quickly explains why. The dark bay barreled through a powerful :20 4/5 quarter-mile work, sparking a bidding war that...

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Hot Rod Charlie Favored From Gate Four in TVG.com Haskell

Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow), third in the GI Kentucky Derby and runner-up to Essential Quality (Tapit) when last seen in the GI Belmont S. June 5, was installed the 6-5 morning-line favorite and was assigned gate four in a field of seven sophomores for Saturday's $1-million GI TVG.com Haskell S. at Monmouth Park. Flavien Prat has the call for trainer Doug O'Neill. "I think it sets up perfectly for us," Greg Hahn, whose Roadrunner Racing campaigns Hot Rod Charlier in partnership with Boat Racing LLC, William Strauss and Gainesway Stable,...

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Normalcy Returns as Saratoga Meet Opens

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Once again, Saratoga opens its world-renowned race meet with the question: How many? During the COVID-19 summer of 2020, the issue was whether there might be some loosening on the ban on spectators during the 40-day season. That never happened, though a limited number of owners were allowed to see their horses run, and some of the world's best Thoroughbreds played to a oh-so quiet empty house at America's oldest race track. With restrictions completely lifted in New York State in time for the 153rd season,...

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Whitney Next for Knicks Go, BC Classic a Possibility

With his horse's year having been rejuvenated with a powerful performance in the GIII Prairie Meadows Cornhusker H., trainer Brad Cox is ready to tackle bigger and better things with stable star Knicks Go (Paynter). Cox said Wednesday that Knicks Go will race next Aug. 7 in Saratoga's GI Whitney S., a 'Win and You're In' to the GI Breeders' Cup Classic. "We always thought that the Whitney was the race we were going to point for this summer," Cox said. "We felt it was necessary to get a run...

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American Pharoah Filly Graduates at Ellis

7th-Ellis, $51,080, Msw, 7-3, 3yo/up, f/m, 6f, 1:10.05, ft, 1/2 length. PALM COTTAGE (f, 3, American Pharoah--Walkwithapurpose {MSW & GSP, $297,210}, by Candy Ride {Arg}), installed the 4-5 top choice in this first go, broke a step slow, but quickly put her self into a close-up third as Upandcomingstar (Into Mischief), prompted by Strong Silent (Wicked Strong), led through an opening quarter mile in :22.53. Hemmed in along the rail exiting the far turn, Palm Cottage swung out three wide turning for home, ground her way to the fore with...

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