Essential Quality

Consistency Over Long Haul Stands Out for Top Soph

The Week in Review by T.D. Thornton For the past two racing seasons, we've seen two top-rated United States 2-year-olds in each year maintain impeccable form for a period of about 12 months, straight through to a deep point in their sophomore campaigns. That's a fairly remarkable occurrence in this day and age. Tiz the Law (Constitution) broke his maiden at Saratoga on Aug. 8, 2019, then prevailed in the GI Runhappy Travers S. exactly one year later. The compact bay who raced with a relentless swagger lost only once...

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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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Masqueparade Preps for Jim Dandy

FTGGG Racing's graded stakes-winner Masqueparade (Upstart) breezed a half-mile in :47.59 in company over a fast main track Friday in preparation for Saratoga's GII Jim Dandy S. July 31. The bay enters this year's Jim Dandy off a trio of wins for trainer Al Stall, Jr., including the GIII Ohio Derby most recently June 26. "We're happy with the breeze. He's right on track," Stall, Jr. said. "We'll give him a chance to see how far he can take his talent. We were patient getting to where we got to...

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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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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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Tapwrit Well-Represented by First Yearlings at Fasig-Tipton July

After 'TDN Rising Star' Essential Quality's sound victory in the GI Belmont S., his sire Tapit became one of only two stallions in history to produce four winners of the Classic test. In doing so, the champion sire did one of his other Belmont-winning sons, this one also a fellow Gainesway stallion, a favor by reinforcing the market's every-growing esteem for Tapit bloodlines. The achievements of Essential Quality and Tapit came at just the right time for Tapwrit (Tapit -Appealing Zophie, by Successful Appeal), who will have his first crop...

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This Side Up: When the Going Gets Tough…

And so the dust settles on a Triple Crown in which not a single horse showed up for all three legs, with the one awaiting promotion as "winner" of the GI Kentucky Derby instead resurfacing this weekend in a non-graded stakes at Monmouth. When they withdrew him from the Classic fray, the Mandaloun (Into Mischief) team obviously had no idea that he might abruptly find himself elevated onto the Derby roll of honor, albeit burdened with an asterisk. But they certainly captured the spirit of the age, one we deplored...

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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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Essential Quality 'Looks Amazing' After Belmont; Cox Eyes Travers

Essential Quality (Tapit) got great marks from trainer Brad Cox the morning after the colt triumphed in a strong renewal of the GI Belmont S., and Cox said the Godolphin homebred will be pointed next to the GI Runhappy Travers S. Aug. 28 at Saratoga. The Belmont victory marked the first Grade I win as a sophomore for last year's champion 2-year-old male and offered a measure of redemption for the gray, who was the beaten favorite when fourth in last month's GI Kentucky Derby, his first career defeat. "He...

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