Horse Racing

Betting favourite Important High quality wins 2021 Belmont Stakes

NEW YORK — Brad Cox picked up his first Triple Crown win with Important High quality’s romp to victory within the Belmont Stakes on Saturday whereas ready to see if he’ll be awarded one other from the Kentucky Derby.

Cox may very well be a Derby winner with Mandaloun if Bob Baffert-trained Medina Spirit is disqualified. However Cox was capable of get pleasure from this one with Important High quality beating Scorching Rod Charlie by 1¼ lengths.

Important High quality, who went off because the 6-5 favourite, handed early chief Scorching Rod Charlie across the last flip and held on to win the $1 million race over 1½ miles. He paid $4.60 to win, $3 to put and $2.60 to indicate.

“That was a good distance round there a mile a half, but it surely was thrilling,” Cox stated. “It regarded just like the horse on the within, he nonetheless had run left. I knew it was going to be a battle down the lane.”

Preakness winner Rombauer was third and Recognized Agenda fourth.

Important High quality, a hanging grey colt, completed fourth as a overwhelmed favourite within the Kentucky Derby due to a tough journey. Important High quality confirmed within the Belmont why he has lengthy been thought of one of many high 3-year-olds within the nation.

“Within the Kentucky Derby we have been so assured that we’re gonna win that race,” stated jockey Luis Saez, who gained a Triple Crown race for the primary time. “He was prepared for the race. However now we have slightly unfortunate begin. … Immediately, the principle factor was attempt to break clear and the remaining I do know he is gonna do it.”

Backdooring his technique to changing into the primary Louisville-born coach to win the Kentucky Derby would not permit Cox the identical pleasure of victory because the Belmont, which the up-and-coming star will possible bear in mind as his first true Triple Crown triumph.

And Cox noticed this coming. He predicted final summer time that Important High quality could be his horse for the Belmont, and that proved true in beating a troublesome area of seven different horses.

It was one thing of redemption for Saez, who thought he had his first Triple Crown win ending first within the 2019 Derby with Most Safety. However Most Safety was disqualified for impeding different horses.

There was no DQ this time.

“Scorching Rod Charlie ran an incredible race and I assumed [with] the recent tempo we have been in a great spot the place they might come again,” Cox stated. “Luis did a incredible job of getting him in place turning for house and he was capable of actually present his stamina late.”

Saez stated Belmont was his “second house.”

“This was the race I needed to win,” he stated.

United Arab Emirates ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum owns Important High quality. Cox made it a degree to say him moments after the Belmont.

“Sheikh Mohammed, he is been supporting us the final two years and it is a super group, world-class group, and we would not be right here clearly with out this horse and his assist, so I simply needed to essentially thank him,” Cox stated.

The race was run with no horse educated by Baffert, who was banned by the New York Racing Affiliation after Medina Spirit failed a post-Derby drug check for the presence of a steroid. Churchill Downs suspended Baffert for 2 years after a second pattern from the Derby got here again constructive for betamethasone, which is prohibited at any degree on race day in Kentucky, Maryland and New York.

Normalcy returned to the Belmont after a topsy-turvy 2020 that featured the race main off the Triple Crown at a nontraditional 1⅛-mile distance at an empty racetrack. The race was again in its conventional spot because the third leg of the Triple Crown 5 weeks after the Derby and three after the Preakness. And it was again to its “check of the champion” distance and had hundreds of principally maskless followers roaming the huge grandstand at Belmont Park.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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