The 153rd Belmont Stakes and the 242nd Epsom Derby were run on June 5, 2021.  Before the day was over, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Godolphin had accomplished an historic first-ever feat:  winning the 1 ½ mile Epsom Derby and the 1 ½ mile Belmont Stakes on the same day in the same year. 

The Charlie Appleby-trained Adayar won the Epsom Derby at 16-1 odds and less than 3 hours later the Brad Cox-trained Essential Quality won the Belmont Stakes as the 6/5 favorite.  Appleby said that his intention was not to run Adayar in the Epsom Derby, but did so at the insistence of Sheikh Mohammed, who told him that there “is only one Epsom Derby.” 

As if the Adayar/Essential Quality wins were not enough, Godolphin’s Hurricane Lane placed third in the Epsom Derby.  Adayar and Hurricane Lane were both sired by the undefeated Frankel and Essential Quality is by leading stallion Tapit, who has now sired four winners of the Belmont.

The two global powerhouses in horse racing are Godolphin and Ireland-based Coolmore Stud.  While the two entities both have premier breeding operations located around the world, their approaches to racing are quite different.  Godolphin places horses for racing in the United States on dirt surfaces with American-based trainers, whereas Coolmore ships in horses to compete in U. S. turf races and occasionally in dirt races.  The Godolphin method has been more successful in winning dirt-track races in the United States with horses they have bred. 

An owner winning the Epsom Derby and the Belmont Stakes on a single day is a unique record in racing’s long history.

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