Preakness Champ Gets Feel for Belmont
By Dick Downey
Updated 10:18 p.m. ET
Exaggerator galloped one lap around the main track at Belmont Park on a rainy Monday. He arrived in New York from Pimlico yesterday and will breeze for the Belmont Stakes on June 7, according to the Santa Anita press office.
“We’ll let him get used to the track," trainer Keith Desormeaux said.
Housed in Barn 29, the Preakness winner came out shortly before the renovation break during a break in the weather with exercise rider Peedy Landry aboard.
"He was really good," said assistant trainer Julie Clark. "The track is so big, it kind of looks like they're going slower than they are, but he went in a nice good pace. Not fast, not slow, just right in the middle. He seemed to handle it well. He came back barely blowing and then I passed him off to Vic and made Vic walk him because he was a handful, like he always is.
"He went a couple in 18, 19 seconds," she said. "He picked it up towards the end but he was just off of a two-minute clip, which is what we like. We don't want him going too fast. It certainly was easy."
"He's either going to gallop two or two-minute clip tomorrow, Keith's waiting to make that decision," she said. "He's had a pretty easy week since the Preakness, plus Keith wanted to see how handled the track, especially going a little further."
According to the NYRA press office, expected to face Exaggerator in the Belmont are Brody's Cause, Cherry Wine, Creator, Destin, Governor Malibu, Lani, Stradivari and Suddenbreakingnews.
Keith Desormeaux's five-horse string at Belmont includes Swipe, who had breathing issues off a five-month layoff in the Lexington Stakes.
"Keith thought he had heard a little something after the race and he got him checked out and got that problem addressed," Clark said. "He had some throat surgery and he walked for 30 days, but he's been back to the track for about a week now and he's been great. He looks really good and feels good."
Swipe could return to the worktab as early as Saturday.
"Keith's looked at a whole bunch of things, but he's going to let the horse tell him," she said. "He doesn't want to rush him."