Exaggerator wins 2016 Preakness Stakes

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Jen Caldwell

May 21st, 2016

Exaggerator came with a powerful late run in the May 7 Kentucky Derby (G1) to be second behind Nyquist, and turned the tables on his rival Saturday when capturing the 141st running of the $1.5 million Preakness S. (G1) at Pimlico.

Kent Desormeaux was aboard Exaggerator for his brother, trainer Keith Desormeaux, and settled his mount into a ground-saving spot just off the rail after breaking in eighth. Exaggerator gradually began gaining ground on the front runners midway down the backstretch.

Nearing the final turn, Exaggerator found his way blocked by Nyquist and Uncle Lino, who battled the entire time up front through splits of :22.38, :46.56 and 1:11.97. Desormeaux angled the son of Curlin off the rail to the outside of Nyquist and Uncle Lino, and Exaggerator kicked into another gear upon hitting the stretch.

The dark bay colt easily drew off over the sloppy, sealed track at Pimlico, crossing under the wire 3 1/2 lengths clear in a final time of 1:58.31 for 1 3/16 miles. Exaggerator was sent off the 5-2 second choice in the 11-strong field and paid $7.20 for the victory.

Cherry Wine came running late to nip 3-5 favorite Nyquist by a nose for second on the wire, while a half-length farther back stakes debuter Stradivari got up to take fourth over Lani by a length.

Laoban came next and was followed under the line by Uncle Lino, who pulled up sore and was vanned off. Fellowship, Awesome Speed, Collected and Abiding Star completed the order of finish.

Exaggerator and Nyquist met up long before the Preakness, starting all the way back to when the duo were making their very first starts in the same June 5 contest at Santa Anita Park, where Exaggerator finished fifth to Nyquist’s head score.

Exaggerator broke his maiden next out for owner Big Chief Racing LLC, Head of Plains Partners LLC, Rocker O Ranch LLC, et al. He proceeded to take the Saratoga Special (G2) and ran second in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) before coming up against his nemesis once again in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1).

Nyquist got the win on that fall day at Keeneland as Exaggerator finished fourth, but the dark bay colt concluded his juvenile season in winning fashion with a neck triumph in the Delta Downs Jackpot (G3).

Prior to the Preakness, Exaggerator had run four times in 2016, placing second in the San Vicente (G2) behind Nyquist and finishing third in the San Felipe (G2). A sloppy, sealed surface, and no Nyquist, awaited the colt in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), and Exaggerator romped by 6 1/4 lengths on that occasion.

Next up was the Kentucky Derby, where the Kentucky-bred colt rallied from the rear of the field to miss by 1 1/4 lengths. He improved his career mark to read 5-3-1 from 11 lifetime starts with the Preakness win and has now banked $2,971,120.

Bred by Joseph B. Murphy, Exaggerator is out of the stakes-placed Vindication mare Dawn Raid, who set a new track record at Woodbine in 2007. Dawn Raid is a half-sister to Canadian champion Embur’s Song, herself a track record-setter at Keeneland in 2011.

Exaggerator’s female family also includes three-time Canadian champion Eternal Search, Grade 1 heroine Island Sand and 2004 Queen’s Plate winner Niigon.

Exaggerator photo courtesy of Cecilia Gustavsson/