Edited Press Release
Exaggerator diverged slightly from his regular routine by hitting the Belmont Park training track for the first time just after 9 a.m. (ET) Wednesday morning, jogging two miles around the surface.
Julie Clark, assistant to trainer Keith Desormeux, was pleased with the effort put in by the Preakness S. (G1) winner as he continues preparations toward a start in the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 11.
“We decided to hit the training track this morning because the distance fits with his regular galloping routine,” Clark explained. “We’re just trying to keep things as close to what he normally does.
“He was really good, that was one of his better jog days in a long time. He had a couple of bucks in there but I’d worry if he didn’t so that’s just fine.”
On Thursday, the dark bay son of Curlin is expected to have a light walk day followed by a routine gallop Friday. Clark said the day for Exaggerator’s final breeze has yet to be decided, but is possibly either Saturday or Tuesday.
Creator, Cherry Wine and Brody’s Cause each arrived by van from Churchill Downs Wednesday morning in good order ahead of next Saturday’s “Test of the Champion.”
Creator settled into his new surroundings at Belmont Park just fine, according to Toby Sheets, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen. The Arkansas Derby (G1) winner breezed five furlongs in 1:02 in his last work at Churchill on Monday before shipping to New York.
Asmussen, who is likely to arrive to Belmont on Sunday, briefly discussed Creator’s possible plans this week.
“Most likely he’ll breeze on Monday morning,” Asmussen said by phone. “I haven’t decided where (he’ll breeze) yet (main or training track). It depends on how we think the tracks will be.”
Dale Romans’ trainees, Preakness runner-up Cherry Wine and Grade 1 victor Brody’s Cause, arrived separately, touching down on the backside at Belmont in the late morning to continue their respective preparations for the final jewel of the Triple Crown.
In other Belmont Stakes news, the connections of recent Peter Pan (G3) third-placer Wild About Deb are taking a “wait-and-see” attitude about their chestnut colt’s potential participation in the 1 1/2-mile affair.
Phil D’Amato, who on Tuesday watched the Eskendereya colt breeze six furlongs in 1:13 1/5 at Churchill Downs before galloping out in 1:26 4/5, said he was pleased with how the colt has progressed since the 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan on May 14, but was reluctant to commit to the Belmont.
“We are going to see how he comes back from the breeze and see how he trains over the next few days,” said D’Amato. “He came back (from one start in 2015) extremely strong as a three-year-old and he seems to thrive from race to race, He’s a horse we think a lot of, and we want to make sure we keep him going throughout the year.”
The 1 1/2-mile Belmont would be the fourth career start for Wild About Deb. He finished second in a maiden race in November at Del Mar and was a six-length maiden winner in April over a sloppy track at Santa Anita prior to the Peter Pan.
Should the decision be made to enter the colt, he would ship from Louisville to Islip MacArthur Airport on Monday, June 6, on the same Tex Sutton charter as Belmont hopeful Suddenbreakingnews.
Exaggerator photo courtesy of NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography