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Kentucky Derby-favorite Essential Quality has won the 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes, a 1.5-mile track that marks the third and final leg of the 2021 Triple Crown.
Essential Quality won a thriller after Hot Rod Charlie galloped closely behind in the final moments, a shining moment for Essential Quality to keep his lead with a final push.
The race aired on Saturday from Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. This is the first Triple Crown victory for jockey Luis Saez, who dedicated the race to his late brother and former jockey Juan Saez in a post-race interview.
Kentucky Derby victor Medina Spirit was absent from the day’s action after reports on Friday revealed that the Derby winner had a second failed drug test. As a result of the drug test, a two-year ban has been imposed on all horses trained by the famed Bob Baffert, keeping them from action until 2024. Baffert has also been suspended by Churchill Downs from all events until after the two years.
Rombauer posted an incredible performance at the Preakness Stakes in May and won the second leg of the Triple Crown. The champion horse pulled off what many considered an upset after winning only two races prior to his victory at Pimlico.
The outdoor venue at Belmont Park hosted a COVID-restricted, in-person attendance of 11,000.
According to OutKick’s Meg Turner, “the second leg of the triple crown, the Preakness Stakes, had a limited attendance of 10,000 on May 15. The first of the three, the Kentucky Derby, had an attendance of 51,838 at the beginning of May.”
Preakness Stakes winner Rombauer entered the race third with 5-1 odds, behind Essential Quality (6/5) and Bourbonic (14-1)as the lead horses, per NYRA Bets.
- Hot Rod Charlie (9/2)
- France Go De Ina (27-1)
- Known Agenda (6-1)
- Rock Your World (5-1)