Speed Reads

triple crown

Belmont Stakes favorite Essential Quality wins race after thrilling final stretch

Horse Racing's Triple Crown season wrapped up Saturday evening, with Essential Quality winning the Belmont Stakes, as expected.

Hot Rod Charlie led from the get go and valiantly tried to hold on in a thrilling final stretch, but Essential Quality, the pre-race favorite ridden by jockey Luis Saez, proved too much after surging from the middle of the pack.

The horse's win means all three Triple Crown races had different winners — Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby, while Rombauer won in the Preakness. The former's victory is in limbo because of a failed post-Derby drug test, but even if he loses, another horse, Mandaloun, will be declared the champion.