The second leg of the Preakness Stakes is scheduled for Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Track this weekend and the connections of Kentucky Derby runner up Exaggerator is hoping that the city lives up to it’s nickname. Baltimore is known as the ‘Charm City’ and the hope is that the third time will be ‘the charm’ as Exaggerator faces Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist for the third time this year. The previous two matchups were won by Nyquist.
Although horse racing is a sport fraught with privilege and tradition there is much of it that is hard work with a fair amount of drudgery. That was the case on Sunday as Exaggerator’s trainer Keith Desormeaux assigned his assistant, Julie Clarke, to the role of truck driver. Clarke was responsible for driving Exaggerator and another horse to Pimlico. Clarke drove a pickup truck, the horses rode along in a trailer. For her part, Clarke said the trip was ‘uneventful’: “The weather was cool and the traffic was really good.” Clarke followed a larger commercial horse transport carrying four other horses that are expected to run on the Preakness undercard including Right There and Swipe: “I didn’t know the route and I figured they did, so I’d just follow along.”
Kentucky Derby champion Nyquist was transported to Churchill Downs less than 48 hours after his big win. The rest of the field has been trickling in though Exaggerator is one of the later arrivals. He spent Sunday getting used to his stall and the surroundings of the Preakness Barn. He’ll start his preparations for the race on Monday with a light jog and some paddock schooling.
Exaggerator became something of a ‘wise guy favorite’ in the Kentucky Derby following his win on a wet track in the Santa Anita Derby. While many railbirds dismissed his credentials he finished second and was closing fast in the Kentucky Derby. The son of 2007 Preakness winner Curlin, Exaggerator has a career record of 10-4-3-1 and career earnings of $2,071,120. In addition to the Santa Anita Derby he’s earned stakes victories in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special and the Grade 3 Delta Jackpot. As noted above, he’s lost twice to Kentucky Derby champ Nyquist as a three year old and his connections are anxious to start getting those wins back.