Essential Quality wins Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Essential Quality took charge in the stretch to overtake 94-1 long shot Hot Rod Charlie and win Friday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile by three-quarters of a length on the first day of the season-ending world championships at Keeneland.

Hot Rod Charlie and 4-5 favorite Jackie’s Warrior dueled through the final turn before Essential Quality emerged from the pack. The colt held on at the wire as Keepmeinmind, a 30-1 long shot, made a late charge. Essential Quality improved to 3-0 and established himself as a possible contender in next year’s Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

Essential Quality also won last month’s Grade 1 Breeders Futurity at Keeneland.

With Luis Saez aboard, Essential Quality covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.09 and paid $9.40, $6.20 and $4.40.

Hot Rod Charlie returned $51.60 and $24 while Keepmeinmind paid $11.20 to show. Jackie’s Warrior faded to fourth.

Racing continues Saturday with nine stakes races including the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

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