Breeders’ Cup contender Essential Quality breezes easy half-mile in :50.60

September 26, 2021

Luxembourg, Perfect Power earns 10 points each on ‘European Road to Kentucky Derby’; Sunday is family adventure day

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – It was another busy Saturday morning beneath the Twin Spires with several of the nation’s top horses recording published workouts including Godolphin’s recent Travers Stakes (Grade I) winner Essential Quality, who cruised an easy half-mile in :50.60.

With his regular exercise rider Edvin Vargas in the irons, Essential Quality was one of the first horses to work over the track at 5:30 a.m. (all times Eastern). The gray son of Tapit breezed solo and will likely have five more works prior to competing in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade I) at Del Mar.

Saturday’s move was Essential Quality’s second breeze following his victory in last month’s $1.25 million Travers. Trained by Brad Cox, Essential Quality is 8-for-9 lifetime with earnings of $4,215,144.

Two hours later, Cox’s other Breeders’ Cup Classic hopeful, Knicks Go, clipped five furlongs in 1:00.80 with Vargas aboard. Owned by Korea Racing Authority, the multiple Grade I winner is likely to be the heavy favorite in next Saturday’s $400,000 Lukas Classic (GIII) at Churchill Downs.

“These are two extremely talented horses that we have in our barn,” Cox said. “They’ve both accomplished a lot this year and we’re looking forward to the Breeders’ Cup.”

Juddmonte’s possible $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI) contender Bonny South worked a sharp five furlongs in :59.40 in company with maiden winner Page One. The Grade II winner is likely to make her next start in the $500,000 Spinster (GI) on Oct. 10 at Keeneland, according to Cox. 

Luxembourg, Perfect Power earns 10 points each on ‘European Road to Kentucky Derby’

Action began early Saturday morning on the “European Road to the Kentucky Derby” where WesterbergMrs. John MagnierMichael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Luxembourg (IRE), along with Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum’s Perfect Power (IRE), each recorded victories and earned 10 points for the seven-race Kentucky Derby qualifying series.

At the Curragh Racecourse in Ireland, Luxembourg stormed home under Seamie Heffernan to an impressive open-length victory in the $125,000 Alan Smurfit Memorial Beresford Stakes (Group 2). The victory was trainer Aidan O’Brien’s 11th straight in the Beresford and 21st overall.

About 400 miles east at Newmarket in England, Perfect Power got up in the final strides to win Saturday’s six-furlong $366,000 Juddmonte Royal Lodge (G2). Trained by Richard Fahey and ridden by Christophe Soumillion, Perfect Power’s victory earned him a spot in the starting gate for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (GI) held on Nov. 5 at Del Mar.

The “European Road to the Kentucky Derby” will continue Oct. 3 at Longchamp in France for the Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagadere. For more information, visit

Sunday is family adventure day

Sunday is Family Adventure Day presented by Kroger. Families are encouraged to bring the kids to Churchill Downs for a day of racing and family activities including inflatables, a petting zoo, stick horse races, face painting and more. Special happenings include a Churchill Charlie walk-around meet and greet, United States Tennis Association (USTA) tennis workshop; interaction with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Mobile Science Activity Center; exploring the game of golf with First Tee; and learning about FBI Louisville safety programs. 

Tickets for adults and children age 3 and up are $10 when purchased online in advance at and include unlimited access to all kid-friendly activities through 5 p.m. Churchill Downs is also offering a Family Four Pack that includes four Family Adventure Day reserved seat tickets: $36 (first-floor reserved) or $44 (third-floor reserved).

DOWN THE STRETCH – Racing continued Saturday at Churchill Downs with a first post of 12:45 p.m. The 11-race program featured a $47,604 carryover in the 20-cent Derby City 6 that spanned Races 6-11. There also is a $2,864 carryover in the finale’s Super Hi-5. … Fans who are unable to make it to Churchill Downs for the races can download and watch all the action on the Churchill Downs LIVE app. The Churchill Downs LIVE app is available free of charge on Amazon, Apple TV and Roku and features full access to the HD live stream of the Churchill Downs simulcast signal and three additional angles including the Saddling Paddock. … For more information about racing this week at Churchill Downs and to purchase tickets, visit

Kevin Kerstein/Churchill Downs Press Office

Photo: Essential Quality’s breezing for the Kentucky Derby. (Churchill Downs/Coady Photography)

@Tracking_Trips baaaaaannnnngggggg, still making money on vacation days with Big Jon. Let's go here.

Ryne Olsen @ryne_olsen View testimonials