Exaggerator draws post 11, installed as 9-5 Belmont Stakes favorite
Jockey Kent Desormeaux expects to keep Exaggerator in the clear after receiving post 11 in Saturday’s $1.5 million Belmont Stakes. A total of 13 3-year-olds were entered and Exaggerator has been listed as the 9-5 morning line choice.
The 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes anchors a dynamite card of 10 stakes races.
It won’t feature the same excitement from 2015, when American Pharoah snapped a 37-year Triple Crown drought at the Elmont, New York venue, but Exaggerator is attempting to become the first horse since Native Dancer in 1952 to finish second in the Kentucky Derby before capturing the final two legs of the series.
The Keith Desormeaux-trained colt handed Kentucky Derby winner and 2-year-old champion Nyquist his first career defeat from nine attempts when posting a 3 ½-length Preakness victory at Pimlico three weeks ago. Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux, winner of the 2009 Belmont aboard Summer Bird, retains the mount for his brother.
Stradivari, a wide-trip fourth when making his stakes debut in the Preakness, is the 5-1 second choice. John Velazquez will be back up for Todd Pletcher and Stradivari will start from post 5.
Another Pletcher trainee, Destin, comes next on the morning line at 6-1. Sixth in the Kentucky Derby, Destin is one of five Derby horses returning off a five-week freshening along with Creator (10-1 morning line), Suddenbreakingnews (10-1), Brody’s Cause (20-1) and Trojan Nation (30-1).
The Japanese-based Lani, who finished ninth in the Derby and fifth in the Preakness, joins Exaggerator as the only horses to contest all three legs of the Triple Crown. The U.A.E. Derby winner is an early 20-1.
Preakness runner-up Cherry Wine, who was excluded from the Derby due to insufficient points, is the 8-1 fourth choice in the Belmont. He’s one of the two late runners in the field for Dale Romans along with Brody’s Cause.
Peter Pan (G2) runner-up Governor Malibu heads the new Triple Crown shooters. Trained by Christophe Clement, who spoiled California Chrome’s Triple Crown bid with Tonalist two years ago, Governor Malibu must overcome the rail post and is listed at 12-1. A trio of 30-1 outsiders – stablemates Forever d’Oro and Seeking the Soul; and Gettysburg, who is expected to ensure a hot pace for rallying stablemate Creator – complete the line-up.