Godolphin’s Essential Quality Vies For Championship

Trainer Brad Cox Aims for the Sky

This year’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) on Friday features a dynamic field filled with talent. One of the main players is Godolphin’s Essential Quality, who could sew up a championship if he can defeat divisional leader and race favorite Jackie’s Warrior.

Winner of the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) last out in stellar fashion, the son of Tapit is 2-for-2 after having won his maiden a few weeks earlier at Churchill Downs, despite ample traffic issues.

“He’s training really well and had three works since the Breeders’ Futurity,” said Brad Cox, trainer. “I’ve been very happy with all of (his gallops). He’s a gifted horse who has been good since day one. He showed us a lot from his first breeze. I would say he has a lot to learn, but the talent is there. He could be anything and is obviously already a Grade 1 winner. He’s a very, very nice horse and I think the sky’s the limit.”

Cox is new to the Godolphin lineup, with Essential Quality being his part of a second set of horses sent to him from HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s world-leading operation. Essential Quality has Breeders’ Cup in his blood, as his mother is a half-sister to 2005 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Folklore.


Essential Quality- Pic Mathea Kelley

“This is what you work seven days a week for,” Cox continued. “You dream about a horse like this and we’ve been very fortunate to be involved with such an unbelievably fantastic organization like Godolphin that races worldwide. We had some nice colts last year out of our first crop for Godolphin, with Shared Sense and Hieronymus, a graded stakes winner and stakes winner, so we are just looking to build off of that and parlay it over to this colt. Essential Quality gives you a reason to dream.”

Essential Quality not only presents great opportunity in Saturday’s event, but also fits the prototype of a proper Kentucky Derby candidate. In this, Cox has to balance training the horse to win this weekend, but also not peaking him too early in his development.

“I feel like I’ve trained him the way I need to in order to win this Breeders’ Cup,” Cox concluded. “You always think about (how much to train them) with the Derby next year, but our goal right now is the Breeders’ Cup. After this, hopefully we’ll turn our attention to the First Saturday in May and work our way back from that. I’m super-excited to be in this position with him and Godolphin. He’s a dream horse.”

Godolphin’s colors will also be carried by John Gosden-trained Terebellum in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, for which she has a live chance. Godolphin-bred Lord North, who races for HH Sheikh Zayed bin Mohammed Racing, also represents Gosden when he runs in the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf.

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