Exaggerator is getting ready to run in the third leg of the Triple Crown and with Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist sidelined with a fever and high white blood cell count he’ll be a prohibitive favorite in the June 11 race. His connections are very pleased with the way he came out of the Preakness and Nyquist’s entourage are equally pleased with his quick recovery.
Trainer Keith Desormeaux isn’t quite sure why Exaggerator bounces back from a draining and competitive race so quickly. That being said, he’s glad that he does. Exaggerator is in great shape and needs very little in the way of training between races. On Thursday, he jogged a couple of miles on the track at Pimlico: “He’s good. He jogged a couple rounds on the track and he looks no worse for wear. He’s eating up his feed and his legs are tight and cold. He’s just doing all the things we want our horses to do post-race.”
Just like we noted above–Desormeaux realizes that Exaggerator is a beast and although he can’t explain it he realizes it’s much better than the alternative: “I can’t quite explain it. They usually are a little down after a race. I think if a horse is fit and right mentally going into a race, they should recover quickly. They’re fit athletes. We give them time to recover and as long as they have a good mental constitution, a return to normalcy in 24 to 36 hours is not out of the question. He does it with regularity.”
Exaggerator has been training at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course, site of the Preakness Stakes. He’ll be heading to New York’s Belmont Park on Sunday: “He’s going to walk a couple of days, Thursday and Friday, and then we’ll gallop him again on Saturday and roll to Belmont on Sunday.”
As far as Nyquist goes, he’s recovering nicely from his illness according to Assistant Trainer Jack Sisterson: “He’s doing great. We got the blood back yesterday and, as you guys know, with a slightly elevated white count. His temperature just spiked a little bit again. Doug (trainer Doug O’Neill) wants to do the right thing by Nyquist and get him 100 percent right before we make a plan moving forward. He’s great. We’re taking the right precaution with the aspect of getting him back right. We’ll get him back to California once he’s 100 percent. We won’t make any major plans as of yet.”