The betting favorite Essential Quality won the Belmont Stakes to give trainer Brad Cox his first win in 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. He was also suspended for two years by Churchill Downs this week after a second sample came back positive.
If the colt is disqualified from the Derby, Mandaloun, also trained by Brad Cox, will be declared the winner. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission will decide whether Medina Spirit will be disqualified.