06/07/2016 10:30AM

Exaggerator works well, gallops out 'wow'

Barbara D. Livingston
Exaggerator works five furlongs under Kent Desormeaux at Belmont Park on Tuesday. He finished the work in 1:00.92 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.91.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Exaggerator, the Preakness winner and Kentucky Derby runner-up, completed his serious preparation for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes with a five-furlong workout on Tuesday morning at Belmont Park which Daily Racing Form timed in 1:00.92.

What excited trainer Keith Desormeaux more, though, was the way Exaggerator went out after the finish. Exaggerator clicked off his next furlong in almost 12 seconds, for a gallop-out time of 1:12.91. As Exaggerator went into the clubhouse turn, Desormeaux looked at his watch and said simply, “Wow.”

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Desormeaux’s brother Kent was aboard for the work, which took place after the mid-morning renovation break. That break happened sooner that expected after an unraced 2-year-old, about to work on the backstretch at around 7:15, reared up, landed straddling the inner rail, and could not move.

Assistance arrived, and after nearly 30 minutes pondering options and readying all into position, the horse – named Pimm’s Cup, who is trained by Ken McPeek – was extricated and walked to the awaiting horse ambulance.

At that point, the track had been closed for training for an extended period, so the decision was made to renovate the track about a half-hour earlier than usual. It reopened at 8:15, a bit earlier than usual, but Exaggerator still went out at his scheduled time, 8:45.

Exaggerator worked without company. He bore out while still on the turn, at about the five-sixteenths pole, then finished off the work. Kent Desormeaux said Exaggerator switched leads early, which is why he bore out.

“He floated the turn for 40 or 50 yards,” said Kent Desormeaux, who said Exaggerator was “full of life” the final furlong.

“His recovery was 20 feet,” Kent Desormeaux said. “He sucked in some air, then walked off like he was stall walking, stable walking.”

Added Keith Desormeaux: “If I get back and he’s bug-eyed, panting – it’s not a fitness thing – but if he’s bug-eyed and panting, it means he doesn’t like the surface. He had a nice, comfortable look in his eye.”

Keith Desormeaux said Exaggerator would jog on the training track on Wednesday, walk at the barn on Thursday, and then gallop on the main track on Friday prior to the race on Saturday. A paddock schooling session is scheduled for Thursday morning, and if more is needed Exaggerator will be brought back Friday afternoon, Desormeaux said.

Exaggerator should be an overwhelming favorite in the Belmont. He and Lani are the only horses who will run in all three legs of the Triple Crown this year.

A field of 13 is expected. Entries for the Belmont are due on Wednesday morning, with posts drawn around noon at Rockefeller Center.

- additional reporting by David Grening and Mike Welsch

Potential Belmont Stakes Field
Horse Trainer Jockey Last Race
Brody's Cause Dale Romans Luis Saez Ky. Derby, 7th
Cherry Wine Dale Romans Corey Lanerie Preakness, 2nd
Creator Steve Asmussen Irad Ortiz, Jr. Ky. Derby, 13th
Destin Todd Pletcher Javier Castellano Ky. Derby, 6th
Exaggerator Keith Desormeaux Kent Desormeaux Preakness, 1st
Forever d'Oro Dallas Stewart Jose Ortiz Maiden, 1st
Gettysburg Steve Asmussen Paco Lopez Bel. alw, 3rd
Governor Malibu Christophe Clement Joel Rosario Peter Pan, 2nd
Lani Mikio Matsunaga Yutaka Take Preakness, 5th
Seeking The Soul Dallas Stewart Florent Geroux Maiden, 1st
Stradivari Todd Pletcher John Velazquez Preakness, 4th
Suddenbreakingnews Donnie Von Hemel Mike Smith Ky. Derby, 5th
Trojan Nation Paddy Gallagher Aaron Gryder Ky. Derby, 16th