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Sports News:
Essential Quality is 2-1 morning line favorite for Belmont

NEW YORK — Essential Quality was set Tuesday as a 2-1 favorite for the Belmont Stakes, which might be run Saturday with no horse from coach Bob Baffert pending an investigation into Medina Spirit’s failed drug take a look at after profitable the Kentucky Derby.

Preakness winner Rombauer and Essential Quality headline a subject of eight horses for the third jewel of the Triple Crown. Baffert has no horses operating at Belmont Park as a result of the New York Racing Association suspended him in gentle of Medina Spirit’s constructive drug take a look at for a corticosteroid on the Derby.

Essential Quality, who drew the No. 2 publish place, went off because the Derby favorite and completed fourth. Brad Cox’s different Derby horse, Mandaloun, could be named the winner of that race if Medina Spirit is disqualified, however Cox opted to run solely Essential Quality within the Belmont.

“He’s a valid favorite for sure,” Hot Rod Charlie’s coach, Doug O’Neill, stated of Essential Quality. “He didn’t have the greatest of trips in the Derby and ran a dynamite fourth. You’ve got to get through him. The win goes through him, for sure.”

Rombauer is the 3-1 second selection on the morning line. Jockey Flavien Prat left Rombauer regardless of profitable the Preakness to honor a dedication to trip Hot Rod Charlie, who is the 7-2 third selection from the No. 4 place.

“It’s a lot of respect that they’re giving Charlie,” O’Neill stated.

Hall of Famer John Velazquez will trip Rombauer, who drew the third publish place simply exterior Essential Quality and No. 1 Bourbonic, who is again after skipping the Preakness.

Bourbonic is 15-1, No. 5 France Go de Ina is 30-1, No. 6 Known Agenda is 6-1, No. 7 Rock Your World is 9-2 and No. 8 Overtook 20-1.

“I think the key to the race is how much pace with Essential Quality, Hot Rod Charlie and Rock Your World,” stated coach Todd Pletcher, who has three of the eight horses within the race: Bourbonic, Known Agenda and Overtook.

Pletcher’s longtime assistant, Michael McCarthy, received the Preakness with Rombauer in first Triple Crown race as a coach. Pletcher joked, “The pressure’s all on him,” going into the Belmont.

It may really be on Cox given the lofty expectations on Essential Quality. Retired jockey Jerry Bailey stated that contemplating the tough journey Essential Quality acquired within the Derby, the grey colt was the very best horse within the race.

“He is just a grinder,” stated Bailey, who is now an NBC Sports analyst. “He’s built perfectly for this kind of race. His running style is exactly the style that you want for the Belmont Stakes. He just keeps coming. That he definitely has in his favor.”

The 1 1/2-mile distance is the unknown. The Belmont is again to its conventional “test of the champion” distance on the enormous Belmont Park oval generally known as “Big Sandy” after the race was shortened in 2020 as a result of it led off the Triple Crown.

“We’re kind of in the same boat as everybody here,” France Go de Ina train rider Masaki Tanako stated by way of interpreter Kate Hunter. “No one’s run a mile and a half before, so we’re all on the same page.”

If anybody however Rombauer wins the Belmont, it’ll mark the third consecutive 12 months and fifth prior to now eight with a special horse profitable every of the Triple Crown races.

“It should be an interesting race,” stated Pletcher, who is wanting for his fourth Belmont victory.

Rebel’s Romance was a late defection from the sphere Tuesday morning due to a hind leg an infection.

“As we know in these big races, there’s just no point in going there with only 75% of a horse,” coach Charlie Appleby stated. “So we’ll give this one a swerve and regroup.”

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