Belmont Stakes Draws Field of Eight Horses, Headed By Essential Quality and Rombauer

HRFLA Staff Report

Eight horses were entered on Tuesday for the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (Grade 1) which will be run on Saturday at Belmont Park in Elmont. N.Y.

As expected, the field will include last year’s U.S. two-year-old champion Essential Quality and the winner of this year’s Preakness Stakes (Grade 1) Rombauer.

Essential Quality drew post two and Belmont Park installed him as the 2-1 morning line favorite. Rombauer (photo on home page) drew post three, and is second in the morning line at 3-1.

Hot Rod Charlie is in post four at 7-2 in the morning line. In the Kentucky Derby (Grade 1) on May 1, he finished third by a head over Essential Quality who came in fourth.

The Belmont field will not include Rebel’s Romance, who as of Monday had been listed as a likely entrant in the 1 1/2 mile dirt stakes.

Rebel’s Romance is owned and was bred by Dubai-based Godolphin, which on Tuesday said that horse will not run in the Belmont due to a hind leg infection.

The Belmont would have been the first U.S. race for Rebel’s Romance.  On March 27, he won the UAE Derby (Grade 2) for 3-year-olds at the Meydan Racecourse in the United Arab Emirate of Dubai.

Godolphin also bred and owns Essential Quality, whose six career starts have been in the United States.  The grey/roan son of Tapit won all of those races except the 1 1/4  mile Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

Essential Quality (3) Beats Highly Motivated in the Blue Grass Stakes, April 3, 2021 at Keeneland

In his race prior to the Kentucky Derby, Essential Quality beat Highly Motivated by a neck in the 1 1/8 mile Bluegrass Stakes (Grade 2) at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. Highly Motivated finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby.


Belmont Stakes  Field

Here is the field for the Belmont Stakes–by post positions with trainers, owners and morning line odds.

1 Bourbonic, T. Pletcher. K. Carmouche, 15-1

2 Essential Quality. B. Cox. L. Saez, 2-1
3 Rombauer, M. McCarthy, J. Velazquez, 3-1
4 Hot Rod Charlie, D. O’Neill. F. Prat      7-2
5 France Go de Ina, R. Santana, H. Mori  30-1
6 Known Agenda, T. Pletcher, I. Ortiz, 6-1
7 Rock Your World, J. Sadler, J. Rosario  9-2
8 Overtook, T. Pletcher, M. Franco, 20-1
Scheduled post time for the Belmont Stakes is 6:49 p.m. Eastern, and will be telecast live on NBC’s over-the-air stations. It will be the 11th race on  a 13-race card that will have seven other graded stakes races.
This link to the Equibase Web site has the Belmont Park entries for Saturday.  It has click-ons for handicapping information.  Some is free. Some, including past performances, is at cost.
 The relatively small Belmont Stakes field has five horses for which handicappers can make solid win cases. They are Rombauer, Essential Quality, Hot Rod Charlie, Known Agenda and Rock Your World.
In their races prior to the Kentucky Derby on May 1, Known Agenda won the 1 1/8 mile Florida Derby (Grade 1) at Gulfstream Park and Rock Your World won the 1 1/8 mile Santa Anita Derby (Grade 1) at Santa Anita Park.
Known Agenda finished ninth and Rock Your World finished 17th, both after troubled trips, in the Kentucky Derby.
Bourbonic, France Go de Ina and Overtook will be longshots–maybe at odds higher than in the morning line.
This will be the first year since 2010 without a horse that has run in all three Triple Crown races.
Medina Spirit Controversy 
Hot Rod Charlie, Essential Quality, Known Agenda, Bourbonic and Rock Your World ran in the Kentucky Derby. Rombauer and France Go de Ina ran in the 1 3/16 mile Preakness at Pimlico on May 15.
The Belmont will be the first Triple Crown race for Overtook, who comes in off a third place finish in a five-horse field in the 1 1/8 mile Peter Pan (Grade 2) at Belmont on May 8. 
There will not be a Triple Crown winner this year.
Medina Spirit, trained by Bob Baffert, led at every point of call and won the Kentucky Derby by one-half length over Mandaloun. 

In a post Kentucky Derby blood test, Medina Spirit tested positive for the steroid betamethasone which is not permitted in a horse’s bloodstream on a race day in Kentucky.

Following that failed drug test, the New York Racing Association barred Baffert from entering horses in races at Belmont and its other tracks.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is conducting a second test on Medina Spirit’s post-Derby blood sample.

Churchill Downs has said it if that test finds illegal medication, it will disqualify Medina Spirit and award Mandaloun the Kentucky Derby victory and winner’s share of the purse.

Mandaloun did  not run in the Preakness and will not race in the Belmont.

Medina Spirit finished third in the Preakness, following a series of special pre-race blood tests.

Medina Spirit led Midnight Bourbon by one-half length until the beginning of the stretch in the Preakness.

Rombauer surged past both of those horses in the final sixteenth. He won by 3 1/2 lengths over Midnight Bourbon, with Medina Spirit another two lengths back in third place.

Belmont Jockeys

Flavien Prat rode Rombauer in the Preakness. In the Belmont, he will be on board Hot Rod Charlie–the horse he rode in the Kentucky Derby.  Prat is honoring a commitment to Doug O’Neill, the trainer of Hot Rod Charlie.

John Velazquez picks up the mount on Rombauer for trainer Michael McCarthy. He rode Medina Spirit in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

The other three top contenders have their same jockeys as in the Kentucky Derby: Luis Saez on Essential Quality for Brad Cox, Irad Ortiz Jr. on Known Agenda for Todd Pletcher and Joel Rosario on Rock Your World for John Sadler.

The Belmont Stakes has this likely pace scenario: Rock Your World taking the lead, with Hot Rod Charlie close behind; Exclusive Quality and France Go de Ina in stalking position; Rombauer and Known Agenda near the rear and likely to make strong late runs; with Overtook and Bourbonic also trailing in the early going.



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