Belmont Stakes 2021 Results: Essential Quality gets it done!

Brad Cox gets his Triple Crown win as Essential Quality wins the Belmont
Brad Cox gets his Triple Crown win as Essential Quality wins the Belmont

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  • Finish Position/Horse
  • Win ($)
  • Place ($)
  • Show ($)

Finish Position/Horse

  • 1. Essential Quality
  • 2. Hot Rod Charlie
  • 3. Rombauer

Win ($)

  • 4.60

Place ($)

  • 3.00
  • 4.10

Show ($)

  • 2.60
  • 2.90
  • 3.50

So heading into the big one. Were any of us against favorite Essential Quality? No. No we weren't.

The G1 Belmont didn’t come up with a deep field, but the top contenders are all very good horses that provide needed intrigue in this final leg of the Triple Crown. I’m not going to beat around the bush here, my top pick is also the public’s likely choice, Essential Quality (#2). Despite registering his first career loss in the G1 Kentucky Derby, I thought he actually ran really well and even turned in a career-best effort. He wasn’t away alertly in the Derby, but he was able to attain a good position heading into the clubhouse turn and stayed on gamely in the stretch even after launching a wide rally around the far turn. I had some questions about his stamina heading into that race, however upon watching it back I’m confident he’s going to be able to handle this distance, and in a smaller field his versatility is going to assure he gets a far better trip this time around.

Was the view of our in-house handicapper with our turf-man following that up with...

Trainer Brad Cox won the Eclipse Award back in January, and part of the reason was his work with Essential Quality #2. I spent the better part of 6 months telling everyone who would listen that the son of Tapit, bred and owned by Godolphin was going to win the Kentucky Derby (G1). I was so sure that I had the perfect Derby horse that I went hard when it came to “Futures” and the like. It didn’t go my way. That’s horse racing, but you know what … much like life that is truly reflective, there is always another race.

Now, Cox’s best runner returns, and he should be able to handle what amounts to a poor field of opponents. Before Rebel’s Romance scratched because of a leg injury, I was prepared to argue that Godolphin would go 1-2. With Luis Saez riding as well as ever, he should be able to handle those stiff turns and the granularly-based “Big Sandy.” Tapits win … and these connections are looking for some redemption after being caught wide throughout the race at Churchill. Since then, his works look stellar, and he appears ready to decimate this lot. Knockout punch time...

So it is fair to say EQ was our choice. He was mine as well although if Hot Rod Charlie or Rock Your World got out early I didn't mind them but front-runners don't tend to do well in the Belmont.

Rombauer was a horse I liked in the Preakness but in large-part because I thought the field was relatively weak. He was 3-1 on the Morning Line but on Saturday morning had drifted out to 9-1. Coming into the race he had come back in to 6-1 and that was on the verge of providing good betting value.

The early speed Hot Rod Charlie and Rock Your World both got out to the front early along with Japanese invader France Go de Ina. The three of them got clear through the first quarter mile at a ferocious pace before France Go de Ina fell away in the second quarter-mile. By the time they got halfway - the field started to bunch up as Essential Quality started to make his move but was once again forced wide and at one point he was four-wide.

Coming off the final turn though we were down to two. A match race between the fast Hot Rod Charlie and the favorite Essential Quality. Hot Rod Charlie showed immense guts and he just did not want to let EQ past but he was unable to stop him as Essential Quality (for now) gives Brad Cox his first Triple Crown winner. Luis Saez rode him well and the battle for the top three-year-old will roll on throughout the summer with races such as the Haskell and Travers key to deciding that.

Hot Rod Charlie finished second ahead of Preakness winner Rombauer. Essential Quality paid out $4.60 for the win as he becomes the fourth winner sired by Tapit to win this historic horse race.

Belmont Stakes 2021
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