Probable Kentucky Derby favorite Essential Quality works at Churchill Downs

Probable Kentucky Derby favorite Essential Quality works at Churchill Downs
Fans are back to cheer on the Kentucky Derby this year as infield only tickets go on sale Wednesday. (Source: Kentucky Derby Facebook page)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Probable Kentucky Derby favorite Essential Quality worked five furlongs on Saturday morning at Churchill Downs.

“His work mate was Spa City, really good move, we had him at 59 3/5, nice gallop out,” trainer Brad Cox said. “We’ve got two weeks to go, but as of now, we’re on track for the Derby.”

The son of Tapit broke his maiden on September 5, 2020, Kentucky Derby day, and is a perfect five for five in his career.

Jockey Luiz Saez knows what it’s like to finish first in the Kentucky Derby, but he was aboard Maximum Security in 2019, and was disqualified.

“It’s my dream, the biggest race in the world for me, so it’s something very important,” Saez said.

Now it’s all about maintaining a healthy horse for the next two weeks.

“I’m a little excited but I have to focus and just keep my mind and thinking about the race and how we’re gonna be and just ride the horse with confidence,” Saez said.

“You just want to keep, stay right where you are,” Cox added. “You don’t want to change anything, they’ve been training well, just continue do that. There’s a lot of variables with the Derby, you’ve got to get a good draw, you’ve got to get a good trip, but as far as what we can do, just more of the same.”

Cox, a Louisville native, is also pointing Risen Star winner Mandaloun to the first Saturday in May. The son of Into Mishief was sixth last time out as the favorite in the Louisiana Derby. He won the Risen Star Stakes.

Cox also could enter Arkansas Derby runner-up Caddo River.

He has won the Kentucky Oaks twice, with Monomoy Girl in 2018 and Shedaresthedevil in 2020, but has never trained a Kentucky Derby starter.

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