Preakness hero Exaggerator arrived in New York in good order early Sunday afternoon to continue his preparations for the third and final jewel of the Triple Crown, the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on June 11.
Accompanied by Julie Clark, assistant to California-based trainer Keith Desormeaux, Exaggerator stepped off the van from Pimlico Race Course just after 12:20 p.m. The dark bay son of Curlin examined his surroundings and made a few laps around the walking ring outside his barn, exhibiting a few displays of the high energy for which he's known.
“That's him mellow,” Clark joked.
Exaggerator is expected to get his first glimpse of Big Sandy Monday morning, Clark said, with a light gallop over the 1 ½-mile main track. It will be his third time back on track since his 3 ½-length victory in the Preakness, in which he finally defeated his longtime rival, the then-unbeaten Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist.
“We usually walk two days after a race, and then we walk on Tuesdays and Sundays and put in another walk day, just to make it more exciting for the hotwalkers,” explained Clark.
Exaggerator will be making his sixth start of the year in the Belmont and, including his second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, his third start in five weeks, a feat that Clark says has left the fast-recovering colt no worse for wear.
“By Sunday [after the Preakness], he was squealing and on his toes, and by Monday he was a handful,” she said. “He doesn't notice when he runs, it seems. That factor comes right back.”
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