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NYRA Press Release: Grade 1 Preakness and Haskell Invitation winner Exaggerator has been in good energy since his off-the-board finish in last Saturday’s Grade 1 Travers last Saturday and remains on target for the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby and, ultimately, the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
The 3-year-old Curlin colt returned to training with a routine gallop Tuesday and an easy jog Wednesday morning, said Julie Clark, Saratoga-based assistant trainer to Keith Desormeaux.
“[He was] bucking, playing, acting full of himself as he always does,” she said.
Clark noted that Exaggerator scoped with dirt and mucus in his lungs after the race but did not develop a fever and is otherwise no worse for wear since exiting the “Mid-Summer Derby,” where he failed to factor as the 5-2 favorite and was eventually eased to an 11th-place finish.
“We are certainly not trying to make excuses for him,” she said. “There were some horses sick in the barn and we tried to keep him a little separate from them. Maybe he was fighting a little something off. We stayed on [his temperature after the race] and there’s no obvious indication of something amiss.
“Keith feels like his best race, numbers-wise, was the Haskell,” Clark added. “That was a big step up for him so maybe it was just the bounce factor. Or maybe he just doesn’t have an affinity for these deeper, sandier tracks that he’s not really used to.”
The Travers was only the second off-the-board finish in eight starts this year for Exaggerator, the other coming in the Belmont Stakes on June 11 where he also finished 11th. His three victories in 2016 all came in Grade 1’s – and all over a wet and sealed racetrack.
“There was already enough talk about him being a one-surface horse and now he’s taken some major hits,” said Clark of the colt’s detractors. “But that’s alright; he’s good, and we’ll carry on with him and prove people wrong next time.”
Clark also reported that multiple graded stakes-placed Swipe has been retired from racing and entered in the Keeneland November breeding stock sale as a stallion prospect.
A $5,000 yearling selection by Desormeaux, Swipe logged a 1-5-2 record from 11 starts and earnings of $622,630 for owners Big Chief Racing, Fizzy Racing and Billy Shelton. Most notably, the Kentucky-bred Birdstone colt turned in four consecutive runner-up finishes to eventual juvenile champion and Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist in Grade 1 races as a 2-year-old, including the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
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