Exaggerator’s Need for Off Track Appears Exaggerated
Category : News
Fri 06/05/2016 - 16:21 EDT
Kentucky Derby contender has had success over a number of different surfaces and tracks in his short career.
One of the storylines leading up to the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby this past week has been the past performances of Exaggerator, one of the top contenders expected to go to the Churchill Downs starting line. Trained by Keith Desormeaux and ridden by his brother Kent, Exaggerator is the son of past Triple Crown participant Curlin, who finished 3rd in the 2007 Derby, won the ’07 Preakness, and then that year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Recent winning efforts have come on off tracks
Much of the buzz around Exaggerator is that he would prefer a wet track for his Derby bid, the evidence being that his most recent prep win in the Santa Anita Derby was accomplished on a wet track, and his previous Grade 1 win came in the mud over Louisiana’s Delta Downs. Between those two efforts, he was second in the San Vicente Stakes, and 3rd in the San Felipe stakes, both over fast tracks at Santa Anita. But a closer look at those efforts seems to indicate that he wasn’t defeated by track conditions, he was beaten by horses that just ran better on those days.
Has been in contention on fast surfaces as well
In the 7-furlong San Vicente he was able to track close to a wicked pace throughout, never more than a length off the lead through a half-mile in a blazing 44.49, and 3/4 mile in 1.08:56, much, much faster than they are expected to go in the 1 1/4 mile Kentucky Derby. Forced four-wide in the straight, he finished 1 1/2 lengths behind Nyquist, the undefeated Derby favorite. The 1 1/16th mile San Felipe is more of a puzzle, as he made a solid bid late, and then couldn’t sustain it. But he was bumped with a quarter-mile to go, and then drifted out, suggesting that a lack of concentration, rather than track condition, caused the problem. Add to this the fact he broke his maiden on a fast Saratoga surface last summer, and he appears to be a more versatile horse than some might think.
After all the drama of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, the racing scene shifts to Pimlico Race Course in anticipation of the running of the 2019 Preakness Stakes. A couple of the high-profile contenders from the Derby are expected in the field, as well as a number of new shooters that add to the handicapping puzzle and could provide good betting value.
The field has been established for the 2016 running of the Belmont Stakes and of the thirteen contenders, there are four horses who competed in the Preakness Stakes (G1) and are moving on to the third jewel of the Triple Crown.
Wise guys who liked Stradivari in the Preakness have every right to maintain their enthusiasm for the Todd Pletcher-trained colt in the Belmont Stakes where the intriguing runner will likely make his next start.
The 2016 edition of the Preakness Stakes is in the record books and horse racing fans will have to go another year without a Triple Crown on the line. Exaggerator was able to defeat his rival and step into the spotlight with a victory at Pimlico Race Course.