Godolphin’s Essential Quality completed his major preparation for the June 5 Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) with a five-furlong move in :59 2/5 May 29 at Churchill Downs. It was the fastest of 43 works at the distance.
With Edvin Vargas in the irons, Essential Quality breezed outside stablemate Bonny South through fractions of :12 1/5, :23 4/5, and :46 3/5. The duo galloped out to six furlongs in 1:12 4/5.
The Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) fourth-place finisher will van to Belmont Park early next week.
“Overall, it was a very good move,” Cox said. “Both horses are definitely ready to run. I got back to the barn and ‘Essential’s’ rider, who has been on him since last fall, said how easily he got around there. It didn’t take anything out of him. It’s a real positive sign when you have a work like that leading into the Belmont. He’s still a pretty lightly raced horse but has faced adversity in his previous races, which is good going into a Triple Crown race. I think the distance will suit him very well, being a son of Tapit .”
Cox had a busy morning at Churchill with Shedaresthedevil (five furlongs, 1:00 3/5), Kentucky Derby runner-up Mandaloun (five furlongs, 1:00 1/5), and undefeated Australasia in company with Travel Column (four furlongs, :48 4/5), also on the tab.