Exaggerator (Curlin) and jockey Kent Desormeaux win the Haskell Invitational (Gr I) at Monmouth Park
Grade 1 Preakness and Haskell Invitational winner Exaggerator put in his final breeze ahead of the Grade 1 Travers, breezing five furlongs in 1:00.95 on Saratoga Race Course’s main track early Saturday morning.
Ridden by jockey Dylan Davis, Exaggerator was turned loose from his pony escort on the backside and NYRA clockers caught the Keith Desormeaux trainee in splits of :25 and :36 4/5. The 3-year-old dark bay galloped out six furlongs in 1:14 3/5 to wrap up a move assistant trainer Julie Clark described as a “marked improvement” over the Curlin colt’s previous breezes on the local surface.
“I liked this work,” said Clark. “It was much nicer than the two that Keith was worried about. He went through the lane with his head nice and level, didn’t have to be asked. Dylan didn’t even get after him, didn’t push him at all. He thought he had actually worked him a little slower than he did so he was surprised he did it so easy.”
Clark said that the characteristically energetic colt will have a typically light schedule before next Saturday’s “Mid-Summer Derby.”
“Surprisingly, he wasn’t even blowing,” she said of the expected Travers favorite. “He cooled out really easily and wasn’t really sweating. Granted, it was cooler this morning than it’s been but he was good.
“He has [bounced back since the Haskell], definitely,” she continued. “I’m sure the whole series leading up to the Triple Crown was affecting him to a degree but it seems like he was more ready to come back to his usual self after the Haskell than after the Preakness.”
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