Essential Quality

TDN Derby Top 12 for February 17

The weather-related rescheduling of Oaklawn's GIII Southwest S. to the final weekend in February will cause some havoc for downstream prep races. The GII Rebel S. on Mar. 13 will now have only a two-week spacing within the Oaklawn series and Southwest participants who figured to run back in the Mar. 20 GII Louisiana Derby also might balk at having just three weeks off between preps and then six weeks until the GI Kentucky Derby itself. But our sport has gotten quite used to unexpected schedule switches over the last...

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Oaklawn Cancels Racing Week

After canceling its stakes-filled Presidents' Day Weekend cards due to inclement weather last week, Oaklawn Park has once again canceled racing for this coming week, which totals four lost days of racing from Thursday, Feb. 18 through Sunday, Feb. 21. The track announced in a tweet that the five stakes scheduled for this weekend will be moved to next week with further details to follow. Among the races that have now been postponed twice is the GIII Southwest S., which was expected to feature the 3-year-old debut of champion Essential...

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This Side Up: Proxy Steps In to Try that Unique Fit

Derby dreams at this time of year can prove as ephemeral as the vapours rising into the glacial air of Hot Springs. But the owner of the champion juvenile knows perfectly well that plans, with Thoroughbreds, can only ever be provisional--and that the postponement of Monday's Oaklawn card is a relatively trivial inconvenience to Essential Quality (Tapit). To recall the graver vexations that can unravel a Derby colt, Sheikh Mohammed needs only rewind to the last cycle, and the last colt that offered to requite perhaps the greatest single ambition...

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Writers' Room Exclusive: USADA CEO Travis Tygart Explains How His Anti-Doping Team Will Clean Up Racing

Not too long ago, Lance Armstrong was revered as an American hero. The winner of seven straight Tour de France titles, Armstrong brought the sport of cycling into the mainstream and the story of his unprecedented success after recovering from testicular cancer inspired athletes everywhere. But, as the public later found out, it was all built on a lie. Armstrong was a cheater, and his extensive involvement in an explosive doping scandal tarnished his legacy forever, stripping him of nearly all of his fraudulently-gained athletic accomplishments. The revelations from that...

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Caddo River Works Towards Rebel

'TDN Rising Star' Caddo River (Hard Spun), currently sitting at number two on the TDN Top Kentucky Derby contenders sponsored by Fasig-Tipton, went an easy half-mile in :50.60 at Oaklawn Park Friday morning as he prepares for his next start in the $1-million GII Rebel S. in Hot Springs Mar. 13. It was the Shortleaf Stable homebred's first serious piece of work since a 10 1/4-length thrashing of his rivals in the Smarty Jones S. Jan. 22. Breezing prior to the first renovation break beneath exercise rider Gustavo Abrego, Caddo...

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Essential Quality Tops 326 Early Triple Crown Nominees

Led by 2-year-old champion and two-time Grade I winner Essential Quality (Tapit), a total of 326 3-year-olds were made eligible to compete in this year's Triple Crown during the early nomination phase, which closed Jan. 23. Each of the 326 horses from the 2018 foal crop were made eligible through a $600 payment to compete in any leg of the Triple Crown series. The 2021 Triple Crown opens Saturday, May 1 with the 147th running of the GI Kentucky Derby at Churchill, continues with the 146th GI Preakness S. at...

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The TDN Derby Top 12 for February 2

The Nos. 1, 2 and 3 candidates atop this week's GI Kentucky Derby rankings are fascinating from a tactical standpoint. In order, their styles are that of a relentless stalker, a high-cruising speed specialist, and a dominant, off-the-pace tailgater. But the contenders ranked behind them are poised to pounce as we edge past the 90-day mark until the first Saturday in May. 1) ESSENTIAL QUALITY (c, Tapit--Delightful Quality, by Elusive Quality) O/B-Godolphin (KY). T-Brad Cox. Lifetime Record: Ch. 2yo Colt & GISW, 3-3-0-0, $1,335,144. Last Start: 1st GI TVG Breeders'...

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Homebreds Are Dominant On This Year's Derby Trail

The Week in Review by T.D. Thornton In a departure from recent seasons, homebreds are dominating the GI Kentucky Derby trail through the early portion of the 2021 prep-race season. In the TDN Derby Top 12 that will be published in the Feb. 2 edition, no fewer than seven of the leading dozen race for the same owners who planned their matings, raised them as foals, and got those colts into the starting gate. That 7-of-12 ratio is as high a number of homebreds within the Top 12 at any...

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Vequist & Essential Quality Take Home Juvenile Championships

Vequist (Nyquist) cemented her status as the leader of what appeared to be an open division earlier in the fall with a decisive score in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Nov. 6. The dark bay finished second in her July 29 debut at Parx, but her connections clearly had plenty of faith in her after that effort, sending her to Saratoga for the GI Spinaway S. Sept. 6. She demolished the field that day, earning her diploma by 9 1/2 lengths and becoming her freshman sire's first Grade I...

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The TDN Kentucky Derby Top 12 For Jan. 26

Two new shooters debut on the Top 12 this week and there was a large leap forward from the previously ranked No. 10 contender all the way up to the No. 2 spot. Four qualifying races on the Road to the GI Kentucky Derby points series are on the docket for the next two weekends. 1) ESSENTIAL QUALITY (c, Tapit--Delightful Quality, by Elusive Quality) O/B-Godolphin (Ky); T-Brad Cox. Lifetime Record: GISW, 3-3-0-0, $1,335,144. Last Start: 1st GI TVG Breeders' Cup Juvenile, KEE, Nov. 6 Accomplishments Include: 1st GI Claiborne Breeders'...

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The TDN Derby Top 12 for Jan. 12

Next-race plans are starting to solidify for some of the contenders among the Top 12, including a possible No. 1 vs. No. 4 matchup at Oaklawn in February. Farther down the list, Nos. 5 and 9 will clash this Saturday in the GIII Lecomte S. at Fair Grounds. 1) ESSENTIAL QUALITY (c, Tapit--Delightful Quality, by Elusive Quality) O/B-Godolphin (KY); T-Brad Cox. Lifetime Record: GISW, 3-3-0-0, $1,335,144. Last Start: 1st GI TVG Breeders' Cup Juvenile, KEE, Nov. 6 Accomplishments Include: 1st GI Claiborne Breeders' Futurity, 'TDN Rising Star' Next Start: Uncommitted Equineline...

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TDN Derby Top 12 for Dec. 30

We're now inside the 125-day mark until the first Saturday in May. The debut 2021 GI Kentucky Derby rankings are compiled largely with an eye toward sophomore prowess rather than lauding horses for accomplishments at age two. Interestingly, five homebreds have secured spots within the initial Top 12, a departure from previous seasons when there were only one or two. 1) ESSENTIAL QUALITY (c, Tapit--Delightful Quality, by Elusive Quality) O/B-Godolphin (Ky); T-Brad Cox. Lifetime Record: GISW, 3-3-0-0, $1,335,144. Last Start: 1st GI TVG Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Kee, Nov. 6 Accomplishments Include:...

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