Essential Quality today won 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes, beating runner-up Hot Rod Charlie by a length and a half after the two were neck-and-neck.
Essential Quality hung out near the rear of the eight-horse field for the majority of the race. But then jockey Luis Saez moved ahead into the final turn.
Essential Quality sat out the Preakness in the hopes of a better showing in the Belmont. His connections still believed that the 2-year-old champion belonged at the top of his 3-year-old class.