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June 21 2018, 12:37 | Van Peters
Exaggerator, meanwhile, took a walk around the shedrow at his Pimlico stable on Monday, and trainer Keith Desormeaux said the colt could be back on the track Tuesday morning. "Kent has won so many of these things, he's getting greedy". The rivalry or the fun, it's there but it doesn't matter who's in the race. My dream was just to be able to compete at this level.
The 141st running of the Preakness was conducted in extremely heavy conditions - officially rated sloppy by local standards - and the race itself was run at a frantic speed. Exaggerator owner Matt Bryan said as he hoisted the Woodlawn Vase trophy.
O'Neill said he would talk to jockey Mario Gutierrez and watch video replays before offering an analysis of the race.
"We were here together a couple years".
After calling their mother in Louisiana, the brothers had a late dinner at a steakhouse as part of a muted celebration.
That's what Exaggerator did on Saturday, and it worked. Keith Desormeaux will keep the well-bred son of Curlin at Pimlico for about a week before shipping to NY, where he'll work once ahead of the Belmont. This was his 11th lifetime start and his fifth start of the year. "Exaggerator had that momentum, and Nyquist had done so much early in the race and just couldn't keep pace". Nyquist, the Derby victor, started fast but faded in the stretch, finishing third behind longshot Cherry Wine.
"Hats off to Exaggerator and Team Desormeaux", O'Neill said after the race. For a split second, it appeared that Nyquist was going to reclaim the lead, but jockey Kent Desormeaux got Exaggerator's mind back on business.
On the bright side, the blog picks did hand out a second straight triple box to start the Triple Crown. For Keith, it represented the culmination of a long, slow ascent.
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On a cold, rainy, dreary afternoon, the wattage from the smiles of those connected to Exaggerator could have lit up the town, from the Inner Harbor to Camden Yards to Fells Point and all the way to Pimlico Race Course.
"So the moral of the story is, trust your brother?" a reporter asked. We did, they didn't and, not for nothing.
In the 11th race, the $100,000 Sir Barton Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race over the dirt for three-year olds, American Freedom, the pre-race 6-5 favorite, fended off first Donegal Moon and then Voluntario to win by a length. Keith had not saddled a horse in the Derby or Preakness before this spring.
A 2012 New York Times look into horse racing found that 24 horses die each week in the United States on average.
"Those other horses fought and battled for six-wide when I didn't have anything but a dream ride", he said. "If we're going to get beat, let's get beat aggressive'". It wasn't a matter of if but when. "The one at the Santa Anita Derby [which Exaggerator won by 6¼ lengths], I tried to downplay because it was just such a meltdown pace in front of us". "We thought we had the best horse and wanted to ride him like the best horse and not try to get cute and get flawless positioning", he said.
However, after losing to him four times in ten career races, this time it was Exaggerator that turned the tables and finally beat the previously unbeaten Nyquist. "You lose a lot of the luster after a Derby victor is beat, because the Triple Crown chance is annihilated". Both figures were up 5 percent compared with the figures from the same period of last year's broadcast. Nyquist is such an unbelievable horse.
"I personally never had a doubt that I'd get here", he said.
O'Neill said he'd take the heat for his horse charging ahead early. "He should relish it".