Exaggerator arrived at Belmont Park on Sunday, May 29th to compete in the final leg of the Triple Crown. The small journey, which spans about 300 miles, was manned by a four-person crew and was reportedly to be uneventful. No news is good news.
Driven by Julie Clark, assistant trainer to Keith Desormeaux, Exaggerator arrived safely and was taken to Barn 29 by his groom, Victor Vargas. He will be stationed there for the next two weeks as he preps for the Belmont Stakes on June 11th. As expected, he will be favored when the $1.5 million race kicks off.
For now, all we wanted to see was Exaggerator being his old self upon touching down at the New York track. Like Nyquist, the Preakness Stakes winner is undergoing a light training schedule that is intended to keep him fresh for the final leg of the Triple Crown. The Belmont Stakes is a 1 1/2 mile gauntlet, meant to test the mettle of the best horses in the three-year old class. That’s why it’s called the Test of the Champion.
So far, everything’s up to par. “That is very normal for him,” Clark noted. “They usually walk two days after a race and then walk on Thursdays and Sundays, and then we fit in another walk day—just to be make it more exciting for the hotwalkers.”
“The first day back (to train on May 24), he was actually pretty strong, and the second time, (May 28), he was very relaxed,” she went on. “We have a different rider, Peedy [Landry], who just has a way of putting the horses to sleep and we love that. He went on a loose rein and was happy to go whatever speed Peedy wanted him to, without trying to dictate.”
The oddsmakers and horse players around the country will be pulling for the horse, hoping that Exaggerator arrives at the finish line first in the final leg of the Triple Crown.