Essential Quality goes about his business in first work at Saratoga

SARATOGA SPRINGS — There were some serious faces at Brad Cox’s barn on the Oklahoma Training Track side of Saratoga Race Course on Saturday morning, as Essential Quality was being tacked up for his first serious work here.

Those expressions changed to satisfied after a half-mile breeze in 50.44 on the main track under exercise rider Jose Gallego, not exactly an eye-popping number, but representative of what the Cox barn was looking for as the top 3-year-old male in the country prepares for the biggest two races in his division at the Spa.

Essential Quality, the 2020 2-year-old male champion whose only career loss is a close fourth to Medina Spirit in the Kentucky Derby, will shoot for the July 31 Jim Dandy and the Aug. 28 Travers.

“It was his first work over the track, so we weren’t looking to do a whole lot,” Cox said. “By himself, he’s pretty easy on himself. He won’t overdo it, so it was solid enough.

“It was pretty much a carbon…

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