Important High quality most likely tops in Triple Crown grey space

The Triple Crown once more featured three completely different winners within the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont

NEW YORK — Three Triple Crown races, three completely different winners and one is not even determined but.

Greater than 5 weeks for the reason that Kentucky Derby and with the Belmont Stakes over, the Triple Crown season remains to be muddled in uncertainty. Bob Baffert-trained Medina Spirit might be disqualified from the Derby, making Belmont winner Important High quality most likely one of the best horse in what was a grey space of a Triple Crown season.

“The physique of labor that this colt’s achieved and the (velocity determine) numbers he’s had — it’s so constant,” coach Brad Cox mentioned. “He’s by no means run a foul race. Clearly he’s the champion proper now till he could be knocked down.”

Three years since Justify — one other Baffert horse who has been on the middle of a failed drug check controversy — received the Triple Crown, the collection has been out of types. In 2019 it was Most Safety getting disqualified from the Derby for interference, in 2020 the Belmont ran first, Derby second and Preakness third due to the pandemic and now Kentucky officers are nonetheless deciding whether or not to DQ Medina Spirit and elevate Cox-trained Mandaloun to winner of the Could 1 Derby.

That might make Cox 2 for 3. Maybe the following tremendous coach, he mentioned Saturday: “I’ve all the time dreamed of profitable Derbys and profitable Belmonts and Basic races. I’ve all the time wished to be on the high and have high horses.”

He most likely does. Even when the drug Medina Spirit examined constructive for did not improve his efficiency — it is a therapeutic treatment — the opposite 18 horses got here again clear and there’ll ceaselessly be questions on how that race would’ve been run with out that variable.

Important High quality completed fourth within the Derby however largely due to floor loss, and even rival trainers mentioned final week that the grey colt’s efficiency was most likely one of the best they’d seen of anybody in that race. Profitable the Belmont solely strengthened the argument that Important High quality resides as much as the hype.

When Important High quality did not run within the Preakness, Rombauer blew previous Medina Spirit and Midnight Bourbon down the stretch to drag off an upset and make the case for being among the finest 3-year-olds round.

“I don’t know if (possibly) he’s getting extra in tune with how the sport is performed,” Rombauer coach Michael McCarthy mentioned. “He may be. With racing, all horses get just a little bit extra expertise. He’s a wise horse. His finest weapon is what’s in between his ears.”

Rombauer completed a distant third within the Belmont received by Important High quality, however everybody — Cox included — was speaking about Sizzling Rod Charlie’s unimaginable efficiency to run second. 5 weeks after ending third within the Derby, jockey Flavien Prat did not precisely have to induce Sizzling Rod Charlie to blaze a blistering tempo, and Doug O’Neill’s horse nonetheless had vitality down the stretch.

“Our horse instructed us right now that he’s a gamer,” O’Neill mentioned after the Belmont. “He received pushed. He did all of the soiled work. Important High quality ran an enormous race and I feel Charlie confirmed he was making an attempt each step of the best way from gate to wire. He simply couldn’t maintain off a champ.”

However who’s the champ? Perhaps the Travers at Saratoga in upstate New York on Aug. 28 or Breeders’ Cup Basic on O’Neill’s dwelling grime at Del Mar in California on Nov. 6 will resolve it. O’Neill actually hopes Sizzling Rod Charlie and Important High quality face off repeatedly and once more.

“These are two high horses, and hopefully they each keep injury-free and we get an excellent rivalry for a very long time,” he mentioned. “That might be actually cool.”

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Extra AP sports activities: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports activities

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