LOUISVILLE, Ky (WTVQ) – Back in 2017, Monomoy Girl was added to trainer Brad Cox’s stable. In 2018, she would win the Kentucky Oaks skyrocketing Cox’s name into the spotlight. He’s had horses win a lot since then, but that light is never brighter than now.
Cox’s horse ‘Essential Quality’ has opened as the morning line favorite for the 147th Kentucky Derby. Cox has won two Kentucky Oaks and is the reigning Eclipse Award winner. That award is given out to the nation’s top trainer.
Now in his first Kentucky Derby, Cox has his eyes set on a new milestone. He could
become the first Louisville-born trainer to win a Kentucky Derby.
Cox will have two shots to do so Saturday. One of his horses, Mandaloun, will come out of the 7 post and sits at 15-1 odds. Then there’s Essential Quality. He’s the morning line favorite at 2-1. That’s for good reason. The three year old won the Breeders Cup Juvenile back in November. Then came back to Keeneland in April and won the Bluegrass Stakes. Cox had to wait until the second to last draw to find out where his top horse would come out, but is relieved at where they landed.
“I think the one, I don’t want to use the word. I just don’t know,” says Cox. “She’s had a lot of success.”
Had Essential Quality drawn the post position one, he had a positive spin ready.
“Churchill does have a new gate that’s kinda I think balanced the playing field,” said Cox. “Gives the one a little bit more opportunity for more of a cleaner run. That started last year, so that was the positive spin I was going to take on it if I ended up with the one hole, but I’m fortunate I don’t have to use that excuse or that positive spin.”
While the track may add different features or equipment every year, Cox knows the racing never changes. To win, you need a lot to go your way early.
“You’re just hopeful that your horse breaks well and the horses around you break well. I mean that’s really what it comes down to.”
While the horses make a difference, the jockeys aboard make a difference as well.
“And everybody as far as the jockeys play fair. We’ll see how it goes. You gotta in the Kentucky Derby some racing luck. It’s out of your hands and hopefully it’s with us on Saturday.”
Cox will have to break several more streaks if he’s going to win with Essential Quality.
It’s been 30 years since a Bluegrass Stakes winner won the Derby and 60 year since the 14 had the winner.