Exaggerator Criticism Nothing More Than Hyperbole
This past Saturday the Delta Jackpot served as the coming out party for the tough-luck colt Exaggerator.
He set a solid pace after having to rush up from an outside post then held resolutely as Harland’s Punch and Sunny Ridge mounted their closing bids. At the head of the stretch he and Sunny Ridge drew away, but try as Sunny Ridge might, Exaggerator refused to let him by.
It was a highly impressive race, visually. The top two drew away impressively and seemed to have plenty left, coming home the last 1/16th of a mile in less than 6.6 seconds. However, there are those not impressed with Exaggerator’s performance, noting the close finish, the slow final time, and adding that the colt would falter at long distances—citing an alleged “suspect” pedigree.
The final time came on one of only two off tracks in the history of the race, and the mile split of the 1 1/16-mile race compared favorably with other races on the card. Exaggerator went 1:39.9 from the outside post while Cougar Ridge won an earlier stakes about a fifth of a second faster in 1:39.69.
Speed Ratings support that the race was fast. Brisnet.com gave the race a 103 Speed Rating while the win earned a 92 Beyer Speed Figure and a 73 Predicteform pace-adjusted performance rating.
Criticism of Exaggerator’s pedigree is curious considering both his sire (Curlin) and broodmare sire (Vindication) are Grade 1 winners at 1 1/8 miles (with the former winning beyond that). Further, Exaggerator’s dam Dawn Raid is a half sister to Canadian champion Embur’s Song.
Anyone attempting to lessen the legitimacy of Exaggerator’s win will get a chance to bet against him next out, but final time and pedigree criticisms are unfounded. Regardless of whether he goes on to become a top Triple Crown prospect, though, the Delta Jackpot was a good race giving no indication that Exaggerator will tail off. If anything, there is every reason to believe that he will improve as a three-year-old.