Essential Quality wins Belmont Stakes

By STEPHEN WHYNO AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Favorite Essential Quality has won the Belmont Stakes to give trainer Brad Cox his first win a Triple Crown race.

He could get another from the Kentucky Derby if Bob Baffert-trained Medina Spirit is disqualified.

Essential Quality passed early leader Hot Rod Charlie around the final turn and held on to win the 1 1/2-mile $1 million race.

Hot Rod Charlie was second, Preakness winner Rombauer third and Known Agenda fourth.

The race was run without any horses from Baffert.

New York suspended Baffert indefinitely after Medina Spirit failed a post-Derby drug test.

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