Godolphin’s Essential Quality consolidated his position at the head of North America’s three-year-old division after a fourth Group 1 success at Saratoga on Saturday.
The Brad Cox-trained Tapit colt bagged the Travers Stakes, the 10-furlong “Midsummer Derby” from Midnight Bourbon by a neck with Miles D a further five lengths down in third.
That win took Essential Quality’s record to eight wins in nine starts, with his only defeat coming after a wide trip in the Kentucky Derby, in which he rallied to come home a close fourth.
Luis Saez rode Essential Quality behind Midnight Bourbon before leading from one and-a-half furlongs and maintained the narrow advantage to take Godolphin’s Group 1 prizes for the year to 12.
Lake Avenue stepping up to Group 1 company for the first time finished a creditable second to Gamine in the Ketel One Ballerina Handicap for fillies and mares in the same card.
Trained by William Mott and ridden by Junior Alvarado, the four year old by Tapit, tracked the leaders but made no impression on the winner over the seven-furlong trip.