Swipe entered Sunday at Belmont; Exaggerator galloping
Edited Press Release
Keith Desormeaux's multiple Grade 1-placed trainee Swipe will take on older horses in Sunday's 8TH race at Belmont Park as he gears up for a summer campaign in New York, returning from a two-month layoff in a six-furlong allowance for three-year-olds and up.
Swipe, overseen by assistant trainer Julie Clark since arriving at Belmont in late May, will face six rivals in his first race since undergoing throat surgery following his only off-the-board finish in an eight-race career in the Lexington Stakes (G3) on April 16 at Keeneland.
After turning in a trio of promising local breezes, including a five-furlong bullet gate work in :59.60 on June 11, Swipe's connections opted to start the Birdstone colt's season a few weeks ahead of an already-scheduled start in the $500,000 Dwyer Stakes (G2) on July 9.
"We're hoping to use it as a springboard for the Dwyer," Clark said. "He's pretty sharp. I think he'll need the race, but it all depends on how tough it comes up, obviously. He always gives a good effort. It's always a little tough to tell exactly where they are when they're coming off a layoff, but he always tries hard."
Swipe, a $5,000 yearling purchase who has amassed an 8-1-5-1 record and earnings of over $600,000, finished second to eventual juvenile champion and Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Nyquist in four consecutive stakes as a two-year-old, including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1).
Swipe, ridden for the first time by Junior Alvarado, will break from post 2. Race 8 is scheduled with a post time of 5:13 p.m. (ET).
Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Exaggerator, meanwhile, continues to bounce back from his 11th-place finish in the Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 11, Clark reported.
"He's doing great. He's had a pretty light schedule," she said. "He's fully recovered and I've liked that even though he's back on the muscle and ready to go, he still goes to the track perfect.
"He had a gallop on Tuesday that was beautiful. He went at a nice pace, relaxed and easy for (regular exercise rider) Peedy (Landry), then kind of progressively picked it up and coming through the lane, Peedy could say, 'OK, that's enough, no faster,' and he didn't fight with him about it. It was good."
The dark bay son of Curlin is currently on target for a light breeze the weekend of July 9 although, Clark adds, the quick return of Exaggerator's characteristically high energy level could necessitate an earlier return to the worktab.
"On the track, he's been great. When he's cooling out after, you can tell it's not quite enough for him now. He's starting to get to where he's a little bit sharp and I like to stay ahead of that curve," she joked.
Swipe photo courtesy of Keeneland/Coady Photography