Essential Quality

Essential Quality to Bypass Preakness; Belmont Possible

Trainer Brad Cox told Steve Byk on At the Races Tuesday morning that champion Essential Quality (Tapit), fourth in the GI Kentucky Derby as the 29-10 favorite, will skip the GI Preakness S. May 15. The grey could be considered for the GI Belmont S. June 5, with Godolphin's Jimmy Bell telling TVG's Alicia Hughes that the Belmont is "part of the conversation, but that's not definitive at all. We're skipping the Preakness, that's for sure. Our primary goal is to run in the [Aug. 28 GI] Travers and we'll...

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Despite Losing Bet, McInvgale, Racing Come Out Winners

Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale made what is believed to be the largest losing wager in horse racing history Saturday, as a $2.4-million win bet on Essential Quality (Tapit) went down in flames as the favorite in the GI Kentucky Derby finished fourth. But, for McIngvale, there were no wounds to be licked. The bet was tied into a promotion at his Gallery Furniture Stores in Houston. Anyone buying a mattress worth $3,000 or more prior to the Derby would get the mattress for free if the betting favorite won the...

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TDN Top-To-Bottom Derby Rundown

This week's Triple Crown feature examines the trips of GI Kentucky Derby runners in detail from first to last: 1) MEDINA SPIRIT (c, Protonico--Mongolian Changa, by Briliant Speed) (Predicted finish: 9th) O-Zedan Racing Stables; B-Gail Rice (FL); T-Bob Baffert; John Velazquez. Sales History: $1,000 ylg '19 OBSWIN; $35,000 2yo '20 OBSOPN. Lifetime Record: GISW, 6-3-3-0, $2,175,200. Three months ago, Medina Spirit was the fourth-best colt on his trainer's Derby depth chart, and when Bob Baffert uttered a comparison to his 1997 Derby champ Silver Charm over the winter, that praise...

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Rombauer Confirmed for Preakness

John and Diane Fradkin's Rombauer (Twirling Candy), third in the GII Toyota Blue Grass S. in his most recent start, is headed to the May 15 GI Preakness S. at Pimlico Race Course. "That's the plan," trainer Michael McCarthy told the Pimlico notes team Monday. The homebred automatically qualified for a starting berth in the 146th Preakness with his victory in the El Camino Real Derby Feb. 13 at Golden Gate Fields. He was third, beaten 5 3/4 lengths in the Blue Grass behind champion Essential Quality (Tapit) and Highly...

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Derby Day 147 Is Here!

LOUISVILLE, KY - Beautiful spring weather, enthusiastic racing fans dressed to impress and the GI Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. This, of course, wasn't the case last year, far from it, as the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down and forced both the GI Kentucky Oaks and Derby to be held spectator-free over Labor Day weekend. Masks, temperature checks and social distancing are more of the norm these days as limited crowds of between 40,000-50,000 (40-50% reserved seating, 60% premium dining areas and...

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This Side Up: If the Hardboot Fits…

Don't know about you, but I'm not really looking for a Hall of Fame horse out there. I would gladly settle for the one of those blurred snapshots of the adolescent sophomore crop, with plenty left to play for in the Preakness. Just so long as we can guarantee an evening of uncomplicated euphoria for connections of the fated horse among 20 who have already confounded the odds even to enter the gate for the GI Kentucky Derby (presented by Woodford Reserve). Because they will be able to tell you,...

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McIngvale To Place Derby Bet On Track

Owner James 'Mattress Mack' McIngvale, who earlier this week announced that he would be making a bet in excess of $2-million as a hedge against a promotion in which customers of his Gallery Furniture chain will be refunded in the event that favored Essential Quality (Tapit) prevails, has confirmed that the bet will be placed on site at Churchill Downs in order to maximize the money that goes to purses. McIngvale has bet through casinos on similar promotions on the World Series and Super Bowl, where he is able to...

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Thursday's Trackside Derby Report

LOUISVILLE, KY - Despite heavy overnight rain leaving the Churchill Downs main track a sloppy mess, there was still plenty to take in during Thursday's GI Kentucky Derby/Oaks training session, including an appearance by the horse that has the big bulls-eye on his back. Rock Your World (Candy Ride {Arg}), Soup and Sandwich (Into Mischief) and Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow) drew a nice crowd of admirers by the Lukas gap as the track was being sealed beneath ominous skies and humid conditions just a tick before 7:30 a.m. With his...

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'Quality' Team Behind Unbeaten Derby Favorite

LOUISVILLE, KY - Two years ago, Brad Cox got the phone call that every trainer wants to receive. "I got a call one day from Jimmy Bell and he said that he'd like to meet me at Churchill one morning," Cox said of his initial conversation with the Godolphin USA president. "It was an honor to get a call like that. We met in my office and he said that they'd like to send us some 2-year-olds. You knew there were gonna be runners in that group and that they'd...

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NBC Racing Analyst Randy Moss Joins Writers' Room

If you've tuned into a major national racing broadcast in the past two decades, there's a good chance you saw and heard Randy Moss. The longtime ESPN horse racing analyst joined NBC in 2011 and has been providing the knowledgeable racetracker's perspective for wide audiences during the network's highly acclaimed coverage ever since. Wednesday, Moss joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland to offer his thoughts and opinions on this week's GI Kentucky Derby. Calling in via Zoom live from the Churchill backstretch as the Green Group Guest of...

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The TDN Derby Top 20 for Apr. 29

by T.D. Thornton The last couple of anticipatory days prior to the GI Kentucky Derby can seem like a longer wait than the six-month prep season that preceded it. Here are the final TDN rankings, listed in "likeliest winner" order: 1) ESSENTIAL QUALITY (c, Tapit--Delightful Quality, by Elusive Quality) O/B-Godolphin (KY); T-Brad Cox; J-Luis Saez. Lifetime Record: Ch. 2yo Colt & MGISW, 5-5-0-0, $2,265,144. Last Start: 1st GII Toyota Blue Grass S., KEE, Apr. 3 Accomplishments: 'TDN Rising Star', 1st GI TVG Breeders' Cup Juvenile, KEE, Nov. 6, 1st GI...

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Wednesday's Trackside Derby Report

LOUISVILLE, KY - With the Churchill Downs backstretch and apron buzzing with socially distanced and mask-wearing fans, you could feel the excitement building during training hours on a steamy Wednesday morning. Cloudy skies and humid conditions greeted the GI Kentucky Derby and Oaks contenders during the special, 15-minute training period beginning at 7:30 a.m. Hall of Famer Bob Baffert held court by the main gap and posed for a quick photo-op holding the lead shank of his overachieving $35,000 OBS July 2-year-old Medina Spirit (Protonico) as the main track was...

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