After a slight delay, the handsome bay colt stepped off the van to the sound of clicking cameras.
Exaggerator, the winner of the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (I), arrived at Belmont Park at roughly 12:20pm today as he prepares to tackle the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (I) on June 11. He was accompanied by assistant trainer Julie Clark and his groom Victor Vargas.
Displaying a hint of high energy, Exaggerator played to the crowd in a few spirited laps of walking around the barn area. Clark acknowledged the colt’s enthusiasm as typical behavior. “That’s him mellow.”
Clark went on to further explain the Curlin colt’s plans for the next few days at Belmont, which will entail a visit to the main track on Memorial Day on Monday morning where he will gallop, part of the Breakfast at Belmont offering before the track opens for Big Apple Showcase Day. She went on to acknowledge the colt’s strong recovery between the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, and expects no less from Exaggerator as he prepares for the one-and-a-half-mile Belmont.
“By Sunday [after the Preakness], he was squealing and on his toes, and by Monday he was a handful,” she said. “He doesn’t notice when he runs, it seems. That factor comes right back.”
Suddenbreakingnews breezes at Churchill
The same day as the arrival of Exaggerator, fellow Belmont Stakes contenders were on site preparing for their runs. Kentucky Derby fourth-place finisher Suddenbreakingnews– now acknowledged as a ridgeling, not a gelding– spun six furlongs in 1:12.40 at Churchill Downs. Trainer Donnie Von Hemel appeared to be pleased with the stamina-building workout.
“I was really happy with him,” said Von Hemel. “He was nice and smooth all the way around. It looked like he was kind picking it up as he went along and he galloped out really strong.”
The son of Mineshaft, who was also second in the Arkansas Derby (I) and won the Southwest Stakes (II) at Oaklawn Park, will ship to Belmont Park on June 7 with Hall of Famer Mike Smith set to ride. A second breeze at Churchill is likely in the cards before then.